The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: society, club fees
Record 4 of 6

System Number: 00204
Date: [29 April 1885][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: George Thomas Oldfield[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler A203
Document Type: ALdS

To the Secretary - of the Arts Club -

Sir -

I beg to acknowledge the extraordinary card[3] that, at the instigation of the members of the "Board", you have written to me -

It had been my intention, at some unoccupied moment to have strolled into the club, and to have handed the hall porter half a guinea - nominally for the dinner I did not go to, and for which I never ordered a place - but, in reallity [sic], out of sheer de[l]icacy and idleness combined - virtues which [p. 2] I would commend to the Gentlemen of the Board, as likely to save them from the perpetration of ultimatums, or the taking of steps like the one they have hurried into with myself. -

Meanwhile there was no haste in the carrying out of my amiable little work of supererogation - and I neither penetrated the gloom of the "Arts" 'limited' - nor felt called upon to point out an error in the returns of the club accountants -

Now, however, as I am forced at last to write in recognition of this official persecution, I enclose, to the eternal confusion of yourselves, solemnly assembled, the original identical printed post card you sent me, to to fill up and return in case I applied for a seat at the table -

And here I would not take pose with puffed upedness nor take to myself any undue glory, as evincing order and method on my part to stand out in coarse and meritorious contrast contrast to the criminal carelessness of the Arts Club Directors, but will frankly acknowledge admit that my surprise at being able thus to produce my proofs, with this dramatic effect, is doubtless as great, as is your own, at my being furnished with data of any kind whatsoever! -

Still, as I have pointed out [p. 3] elsewhere, "God, though always good, is sometimes careless" - and Providence occasionally, misses a chance of distroying [sic] the inconsequent, & so leavinges, neglected, proofs with the innocent - and thusso confutes the proper ends of blind Justice.

Kindly lay this letter of pleasant irrelevancy befor[e] the Directors of the 'Board', and with my the expressions of my profound interests, say that I await their apology for the gross and original friendly playfull threat of legal proceedings -

I have Sir the honor to be

J McNeill Whistler

Pray Also I may add that herewith I have presented the hall porter before referred to with half a guinea - as a tribute of abstract joy, and an instigation to private debauch -

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1.  [29 April 1885]
Dated from G. T. Oldfield to JW, #00205.

2.  George Thomas Oldfield
Capt. George Thomas Oldfield (1824/1825-1890), Secretary of the Arts Club from 1869-1878 [more].

3.  extraordinary card
The Board of Directors had threatened legal proceedings if JW did not pay for his subscription of 10/6 to the Club dinner. See G. T. Oldfield to JW, #00203, and Oldfield's reply, #00205.