UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 13600
Date: [21 June 1891][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
Call Number: Nouv. Acq. Fr. 15038, f. 134
Document Type: ALS[3]


21, CHEYNE WALK,
CHELSEA.

Dimanche

Eh bien! mon cher ami, comment êtes vous dans votre charmant jardin ce beau matin? -

A mon retour "en mon hôtel", j'ai racconté [sic], avec détails minutieux, ma visite à Passy[4] - Vous pensez si'il [sic] y avait curiosité à satisfaire! - Et toutes les questions! - Et qu'est-ce que nous avions fait de la journée - et où nous avions déjeuné - et la description du breakfast room - et ma confession de la manière incivile, et éhontée dont j'ai refusé net de boire de la bière hors Londres!

Tout a été dit - Et l'endroit où nous avions dîné - et l'explication de l'audacieuse entête du restaurant qui donnait à réfléchir!

Et puis la soirée chez la Comtesse[5] - qui est toujours plus belle - et sa charmante sœur - et la conversation - le Prince et les Pions! - et l'histoire de Lady Archie[6] et le Telephone Spirit ... !! Enfin quelle parfaite journée! -

Maintenant il y a à constater l'arivée [sic] du beau plat intacte - et son instalation [sic] officielle parmi ses confrères bleus[7].

Et voilà pour le moment tout - sur la famille Papillon[8], hors leur grand désir de revenir vous voir - et les mille choses qu'ils vous disent en attendant -

[butterfly signature]

P.T.O.
Le livre[9] part immédiatement.
L'Empéreur de Chine[10] n'est pas encore trouvé -
Je vous ai envoyé un autre Labouchère[11] -


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Translation:

Sunday

Well! My dear Montesquiou,

How are you in your delightful garden this fine morning? -

On my return "to my dwelling", I related, in minute detail, my visit to Passy - You can imagine whether there was any curiosity to be satisfied! - And all the questions! And what did we do with the day - and where we lunched - and the description of the breakfast room - and my confession about the uncivil, and shameless way in which I refused absolutely to drink beer outside London!

Everything was said - And the place where we dined - and the account of the restaurant's brazen stubbornness which gave rise to reflection!

And then the party at the Countess's - who is more beautiful every time - and her charming sister - and the conversation - the Prince and the Beggars! - and the story about Lady Archie and the Telephone Spirit …!! Well, what a perfect day! -

Now we must report the safe and intact arrival of the beautiful dish - and its official installation with its blue brothers.

And that is all for the moment - about the Butterfly family, apart from their great wish to see you again - and the thousand things they would like to say to you meanwhile -

[butterfly signature]

P.T.O.

The book is leaving immediately.

The Emperor of China has not yet been found -

I have sent you another Labouchère -


Notes:

1.  [21 June 1891]
Dated by Newton (see below).

2.  Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac
Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (1855-1921), Symbolist writer and poet, and collector [more].

3.  ALS
Published by Newton, Joy, La Chauve-Souris et le Papillon. Correspondance Montesquiou-Whistler, Glasgow, 1990, no. 56, pp. 111-12.

4.  Passy
Montesquiou's appartment at Passy, near Paris.

5.  Comtesse
Elisabeth, Comtesse Greffulhe (1860-1952), née Riquer de Caraman-Chimay [more], who also lived at Passy.

6.  Lady Archie
Janey Sevilla Campbell (ca 1846 - d.1923), née Callander, Lady Archibald Campbell [more]. She and Montesquiou were interested in Spiritualism, and Whistler had taken part in séances and fortune telling; see Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, p. 75, and Whistler and his sister-in-law 'telling' cards (M.1191).

7.  confrères bleus
JW, as well as Montesquiou, collected blue and white chinese porcelain, much of JW's collection being now in the Hunterian Art Gallery.

8.  famille Papillon
That is, JW and Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

9.  livre
A second copy of Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890.

10.  Empéreur de Chine
This reference is not clear.

11.  Labouchère
Henry Du Pré Labouchère (1831-1912), journalist and Liberal MP [more]. JW also sent a copy of Truth to Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Symbolist writer and poet [more]; see Barbier, Carl P., ed., Correspondance Mallarmé-Whistler: Histoire de la grande amitié de leurs dernières années, Paris, 1964 [GM, A.28], p. 89.