The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: plagiarism
Record 13 of 20

System Number: 11715
Date: [10/17 January 1890][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Oscar Wilde[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 19/1871/8
Document Type: TLc

[butterfly signature]

Oscar -

You have been down the aven[3] [sic] again I see! -

I had forgotten you - and so allowed your hair to grow over the sore place - and now, while I looked the other way, you have stolen your own scalp! and potted it in more of your pudding.

Labby[4] has pointed out that, for the detected plagiarist, there is still one way to self respect, (beside hanging himself, of course) and that is for him boldly to declare: "Je prends mon bien là où je le trouve[5]!"

You Oscar can go further, and, with fresh affrontery that will bring you the envy of all criminal confrères, unblushingly boast: "Moi[6], je prends son bien, là où je le trouve!"

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [10/17 January 1890]
JW had accused Wilde of plagiarism. See his letter to Truth, published on 2 January 1890, and Wilde's letter published on 9 January 1890 (Holland, Merlin and Rupert Hart-Davis, eds, The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, London, 2000, pp. 418-20).

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

3.  aven
Possibly this should read 'area'.

4.  Labby
Henry Du Pré Labouchère (1831-1912), journalist and Liberal MP [more].

5.  Je prends mon bien là où je le trouve
Fr., I take things as I find them.

6.  Moi
Fr., I take his things where I find them.