The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 12626
Date: [22 January 1884][1]
Author: Oscar Wilde[2]
Place: Sheffield
Recipient: Thomas Waldo Story[3]
Place: [Rome?]
Repository: Published
Document Type: PLc[4]

Royal Victoria Hotel, Sheffield

Yes! My dear Waldino, yes!

Amazing of course - that was necessary.

Naturally I did not write - the winds carry tidings over the Apennines better than the 2½d post: of course it accounts for the splendid sunsets about which science was so puzzled. Hurrah! You had no sunsets when you were engaged - only moonlights. Well, we are to be married in April, as you were, and then go to Paris, and perhaps to Rome - what do you think? Will Rome be nice in May? I mean, will you and Mrs Waldo[5] be there, and the Pope, and the Peruginos[6]? If so we will arrive.

Her name is Constance[7] and she is quite young, very grave, and mystical, with wonderful eyes, and dark brown coils of hair: quite perfect except that she does not think Jimmy the only painter that ever really existed: she would like to bring Titian[8] or somebody in by the back door. However, she knows I am the greatest poet, so in literature she is all right: and I have explained to her that you are the greatest sculptor: art instruction can not go further.

We are of course desperately in love. I have been obliged to be away nearly all the time since our engagement, civilising the provinces by my remarkable lectures, but we telegraph to each other twice a day, and the telegraph clerks have become quite romantic in consequence. I hand in my messages, however, very sternly, and try to look as if 'love' was a cryptogram for 'buy Grand Trunks' and 'darling' a cypher for 'sell out at par.' I am sure it succeeds.

Dear Waldo, I am perfectly happy, and I hope that you and Mrs Waldo will be very fond of my wife. I have spoken to her so much about you both that she knows you quite well already, and of course I can not imagine anyone seeing her and not loving her.

Please give my love to Uncle Sam and the young robust transcendentalist[9] from Boston, Mass., whose novels we all delight in. And remember me most kindly to your wife, and tell her how much I look forward to introducing Constance to her.



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1.  [22 January 1884]
Dated from postmark.

2.  Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more].

3.  Thomas Waldo Story
Thomas Waldo Story (1854-1915), sculptor [more].

4.  PLc
Published in Holland, Merlin and Rupert Hart-Davis, eds, The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, London, 2000, pp. 225-26. Part of the letter (paragraphs 3 and 4: 'Her name ... at par') was also reproduced by J. A. K., 'Whistler as Letter-Writer', [unknown newspaper], 25 March 1924 (GUL Whistler PC 21, p. 46).

5.  Mrs Waldo
Ada Maud Story (1856-1932), née Broadwood [more]. She married Story in Rome in 1883.

6.  Peruginos
Pietro di Cristoforo Vannuci, called Perugino (c.1450-1523), Italian painter and draughtsman.

7.  Constance
Constance Mary Wilde (1858-1898), née Lloyd, wife of Oscar Wilde [more].

8.  Titian
Tiziano ('Titian') Vecello or Vecellio (1485-1576), painter and engraver [more].

9.  young robust transcendentalist
Probably Francis Marion Crawford (1854-1909), journalist and writer [more].