The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: scalp
Record 7 of 8

System Number: 03793
Date: [19 January 1890][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Stéphane Mallarmé[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M127
Document Type: ALS[3]

'Londres 19 janv 1890'[4]

21 - Cheyne Walk - Chelsea -

C'est une longue histoire mon cher ami - ou plutot c'est une histoire de désapointement - avec laquelle je ne vous fatiguerai pas maintenant -

Pour le moment donc tout est changé - et nous nous voyons forcé de remettre notre installation dans le petit hotel - !! - -

Combien nous sommes désolé vous pouvez [p. 2] bien vous figurer - mais mon humiliation apres toute la peine que vous avez eu la gentilesse de prendre je ne saurais vous dire -

Pardonnez moi mon cher Mallarmé -

Enfin - tout ceci n'est que remis - mais je crois completement pour deux ou trois mois[5] -

Maintenant, pour vous montrer combien la hate est mal elevée, je saute de suite - tellement je suis pressé - à cet autre sujet: la bataille livrée à Oscar[6]! -

Si Evans[7] a deja inserré la première lettre ces deux autres peuvent tres bien suivre immédiatement, avec deux mots d'introduction: -

From the London "Truth"

Oscar loses his head and roars - replies - whereupon Whistler with his usual delicacy daintiness, pinks runs him through and carries off the scalp[8] -

[p. 3] Quelque chose comme cela mais mieux - seulement il faut que je vous quitte -

Maintenant mon cher ami Adieu - répondez moi un petit mot - et croyez moi toujours votre devoué

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


It is a long story my dear Mallarmé

or rather it is a story of disappointment - with which I shall not tire you now -

For the moment then everything has changed - and we have had to delay our installation in the little house - !! - -

How unhappy we are you can [p. 2] imagine - but I do not know how to tell you of my humiliation after all the trouble which you have had the kindness to take -

Forgive me my dear Mallarmé -

Well - all this is only delayed - but I believe entirely for two or three months -

Now, to show you how unprincipled is hurry, I am jumping immediately - I am so busy - to this other subject; the battle against Oscar! -

If Evans has already included the first letter these two others can very well follow immediately with two introductory words: -

From The London "Truth"

Oscar loses his head and roars - whereupon Whistler with his usual daintiness, runs him through and carries off the scalp -

[p. 3] Something like that but better - only I must leave you.

Now my dear friend Goodbye - send me a note in reply - and believe me ever your devoted

[butterfly signature]


Monsieur Stéphane Mallarmé -
89 Rue de Rome -
Paris -
France -

[in another hand in right margin:] '89'

[stamp removed]
[postmark on verso:] PARIS . 6[...] / R. MEI[...] / 19 / JAN[V] / 9[0]


1.  [19 January 1890]
Dated from postmark.

2.  Stéphane Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Symbolist writer and poet [more].

3.  ALS
Published in Barbier, Carl P., ed., Correspondance Mallarmé-Whistler: Histoire de la grande amitié de leurs dernières années, Paris, 1964 [GM, A.28], no. XXVII, pp. 50-51.

4.  'Londres 19 janv 1890'
Added at top of p. 1 in another hand, in pencil.

5.  deux ou trois mois
JW moved to 21 Cheyne Walk before settling in France.

6.  Oscar
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more]. In his article, 'The Decay of Lying' (Nineteenth Century Review, January 1889), Wilde attacked the Ten O'Clock Lecture, adopting a contrary attitude to that of JW.

7.  Evans
Dr Thomas William (or Wiltberger) Evans (1830-1897), dentist, publisher of the American Register [more].

8.  scalp
Truth published Wilde's reply, 9 January 1890, and a new letter from JW, 16 January 1890, #11421. The American Register on 25 January reprinted these two letters, but without the preface JW had desired.