The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: travel, US
Record 10 of 11

System Number: 03199
Date: 1 August 1902
Author: JW
Place: The Hague
Recipient: Charles Lang Freer[1]
Place: Antwerp
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 60
Credit Line: Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC: Gift of the Estate of Charles Lang Freer
Document Type: AMsLS[2]

'Recvd Aug 1st'

30. Lange Voorhout.
La Haye.

Aug. 1st 1902.


It is like some wild Opera Bouffe! One that Offenbach[3] had forgotten to write. Still we scarcely know whether to laugh, or to cry, at all your annoyances, and our astonishments!

St There certainly cannot be anything more absurd than the fact of your being so near, and yet for once really so far away.

(You see I suppose who is dictating this!)

He is very much excited and says that he is sure you will [p. 2] alter the whole plan of that Steamer Company's life directly you get your foot on United States land -

You will be pleased to know that we have all been very miserable without you, but had settled down into a kind of jog trot sadness that would have taken you across the Atlantic, and your return is at this moment something of a shock.

We have lived with beautiful flowers, pretty last thoughts, and returned telegrams[4], and at the present moment your ship has doubtless carried off to America two that had followed you to Boulogne.

This must go at once, as Mr Rey[5] is waiting to express it

[p. 3] So then again best luck and bon voyage from us all.

With most affectionate messages
My dear Freer
Always devotedly

J. McNeill Whistler

P. S. The enclosed[6] we thought yesterday not to send on.

This document is protected by copyright.




Charles L. Freer. Esq:
Hotel St. Antoine.
[stamps x 2:] NEDERLAND
[postmark:] ANVERS STATION / 1 / AOUT / 21-22 / 1902


1.  Charles Lang Freer
Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more]. Freer had missed his return passage with the Red Star Line to America on 31 July as he had been given the wrong departure time by the steamer agent in The Hague. However, he managed to obtain passage on another ship, the Ryndam (see #01530. #01531).

2.  AMsLS
The body of the letter text and the postscript is written in the hand of Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more] whilst the valediction and signature ('with most ... Whistler') are in JW's hand. Published in Merrill, Linda, With Kindest Regards. The Correspondence of Charles Lang Freer and James McNeill Whistler, 1890-1903, Washington and London, 1995, no. 72, pp. 171-72.

3.  Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880), composer [more].

4.  returned telegrams
JW's telegrams and letters had followed Freer from Holland to Belgium as Freer attempted to make his departure to America. One telegram, finally reached him at Antwerp, Belgium as he awaited the Ryndam, #11598.

5.  Mr Rey
Rey, a mutual acquaintance of JW and C. L. Freer.

6.  enclosed
The enclosure is missing.