Documents associated with: health (JW)
Record 140 of 172
System Number: 01521
Date: [April 1901]
Recipient: Charles Lang Freer
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F453
Document Type: ALd
Dear Mr Freer -
I have just received notice from Goupils Paris, of the safe arrival of the Etchings Pastels & Etchings - Again how kind of you! -
The pictures are, it is true, too late for the Champs de Mars - where I had hoped to send them - Still they have never been seen in France - and
we will be beautifully & becomingly shown - when the exhibition is properly organised -
You see I did not take into my calculations this question of health! - and you perceive
from that I still write from this Island so difficult to leave! -
However definitily I
return take the boat for Marseilles on Wednesday, and return to Paris via London! on the P & O Steamer, so that I may complete the benefit of the long absence by a another sea trip and appear in great condition in my work shops again -
And now what do you think
has [p. 2] been at all the trouble with me
The truth that I have discovered here & that has so filled me with delight - mingled with a certain resentment which you will presently understand - is that nothing is
physically the matter with me & my physical health! No wonder the London doctor who is a [ das?] good fellow, for an Englishman - said "you want no medicine . . go away, & rest, & rest, and amuse yourself and come back fit for everything!"
Yes but he stopped short of the real matter! & his prescribed "rest" & said he [no nothing?] - & his
ordered amusement I looked upon with [ serio?] derision as a manner of speaking - amusement - He did not know - what I myself was not conscious of, that I have never "amused" myself! that for years I have never rested! - Never, as who should say sat down! - never taken a "holliday"! - never permitted myself a Saturday afternoon!
For years - think of it!
never had not even a sense of the meaning of "rest" - nor did I at all know of the cruelty real unfairness injustice & to myself such ignorance inevitably entailed!
And in this
madness of work wild pursuit of work the machine was terribly [ illegible] this beautiful & sensitive machine - "not made in Germany" - was cruelly maltreated overwrought Dull indeed have I been! - dull as All work & no play made of Jack a dull boy! - and dull indeed have I been - for I have never played! -
1. [April 1901]
Dated by reference to JW's return from Corsica.
See Merrill, Linda, With Kindest Regards. The Correspondence of Charles Lang Freer and James McNeill Whistler, 1890-1903, Washington and London, 1995, no. 47, pp. 141-42.
4. Goupils Paris
JW had planned an exhibition, but it did not take place.
5. said he...manner of speaking -
This text is added by a line from the left margin.
8. Dull indeed...never played! -
Written in the left margin of p. 2.