The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 13493
Date: [10/30 April 1897][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Deborah Delano Haden[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 26
Credit Line: Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Gift of the Estate of Charles Lang Freer
Document Type: ALS[3]

It is an age Sis since I saw you - and I miss you - The dear sad little verse you sent me - made me happy - and more miserable! What is to become of me!!

When will you come up, to town again? -

How do you like the Mallarmé[4]? - You have never [p. 2] said that you received it -

You see of course that I have been on the War path again! -

Naturally I have swept over the place like the Cyclone - leaving ruin and disaster behind me! -

And now do you know as an American said to me the other day I really believe these people love me! - !

You must tell me what you think of my beautiful little Arcadian Interlude? -

[butterfly signature]

I find your pretty letter Sis at the studio this morning just as I was about to send this off - Do write to me whenever you have nothing better to do - Your least note is a delight to me! - Yes Mallarmé is curiously difficult - perhaps - but the most charming and raffiné[5] of men - and the truest and fondest of friends - I will tell [p. 3] you more of him when you come up again -

As to the Court business[6], my dear Sis it was, now that I come to look back upon it, simply amazing! - Really, do you know, the whole thing would seem to amount to a sort of involuntary public recognition of the position of your brother[7]! -

This is what they all say - and certainly nothing could have been more deferential and respectueux than the demeanour of the people that one hates until as Jonathan Sturgess[8] said "I really believe they love you!". -

You can see from the papers how wonderfully one was reported - that is taking one with another you can almost eliminate mistakes and get at nearly all that was said - I send you one of the most appreciative accounts -

Moore[9] in the box was really my revanche[10] for all the past! - A poor smiling imbecile! - "How long have you studied this art of lithography?! - What can you tell us?" ... ... "Well .. I dont know very specially .. about lithographs ... but I know intimately Degas[11]...!!!"

..."What's that[12]!["] said the judge, who took it for a new method suddenly sprung upon the Court.. - "In short you dont know anything about the matter!" said Sir Edward[13], "I thought as much! We have heard quite enough "Get down"!!!!

They all - I mean "nous autres[14]" - think my Idyl upon the Moore calf, the most perfect thing I have done - I do hope you will like it!

Well well Sis I think you would have been pleased with your brother! - And mind all this will react upon all other matters - such as the Eden[15] Affair - and so on -

As to the miserable Moore of course I have destroyed him forever and for that matter Walter Sickert[16] too!

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1.  [10/30 April 1897]
Dated from the Pennell v Sickert libel action which was heard on 5-6 April 1897 (see below).

2.  Deborah Delano Haden
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

3.  ALS
Written on deep mourning paper.

4.  Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé, No. 2 (C.59) or Stéphane Mallarmé (C.60), lithographic portraits of Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Symbolist writer and poet [more].

5.  raffiné
Fr., refined.

6.  Court business
The libel action between Joseph Pennell (1860-1926), printer and illustrator, JW's biographer [more], and Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), artist and writer on art [more]. Sickert had alleged that Pennell's method of drawing on transfer paper instead of directly onto the lithographic stone could not be regarded as true lithography (Sickert, W. R., 'Transfer Lithography', Saturday Review, 26 December 1896; and see also Sickert, W. R.,'The Master of the Transfer Lithograph, The Speaker, 13 March 1897). The case was heard on 5-6 April 1897 at the King's Bench Division. JW appeared as a witness for Pennell, who won the case. See Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 2, pp. 187-192; see also #08480, and #13493

7.  brother
The Times reported JW's interrogation: 'By MR BIGHAM (reading from the article) - "Mr Whistler is a genius" - you do not object to that. Witness. - "It depends what source it comes from." Mr Bigham. - "Do you object to Mr. Sickert saying so?" Witness. - "It is a very proper observation for him to make, and I have no objection." (Loud laughter). Times, London, 6 April 1897, p. 3.

8.  Jonathan Sturgess
Jonathan Sturges (1864-1911), author and translator [more].

9.  Moore
George Moore (1852-1933), novelist and art critic [more]. Moore admitted on oath that he could not tell the difference between lithographs drawn on the stone or drawn on paper. 'Moore ... get down"!!!!' is written in the left margin, and 'They do ... you will like it!' (partly cross-written) in the right margin of p. 2, both at right angles to the main text.

10.  revanche
Fr., revenge.

11.  Degas
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (1834-1917), artist [more].

12.  that
Double underlined. This interrogation is also recorded in Pennell 1908, op. cit., p. 191.

13.  Sir Edward
Sir Edward Clarke (1841-1931), Solicitor-general from 1886-1892 [more], and Eldon Banks, appeared for Pennell. Justice Mathew presided. John Charles Bigham (1840-1929), 1st Viscount Bigham, barrister and politician [more], and W. H. Stevenson, appeared for Sickert, and Macaskie for James Thomas ('Frank') Harris (1856-1931), writer and playwright, editor of the Fortnightly Review and Saturday Review [more], who had published the offending article and supported Sickert (see Times, London, 6 April 1897, p. 3, and 7 April 1897, p. 3).

14.  nous autres
Fr., we others.

15.  Eden
Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more]. On 4 March 1895 Eden brought an action against JW for not handing over Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408) (JW was not satisfied with the manner and amount of payment, nor the condition of the portrait). Judgement went against JW, but his appeal was heard in Paris in December 1897, and the original judgement was reversed and he was allowed to keep the picture. It is now in the Hunterian Art Gallery. In Paris on 13 May 1899 JW published his account of the Eden case: Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24].

16.  Walter Sickert too
'Well well Sis ... Sickert too' is written at right angles to the main text starting in the left margin and ending at the top of p. 1.