The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Browse Subjects > Document Display

return to search results

Documents associated with: health (JW)
Record 154 of 172

System Number: 06328
Date: [26/28 July 1902][1]
Author: Ethel Whibley[2]
Place: [The Hague]
Recipient: Frances Philip[3]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W324
Document Type: ALS

My Dear Mama

This is a letter of affection and nothing more, for we have no news - Last night I think was a best better one, the poor patient got more sleep & seemed more rested this morning - At the end of the week we are going to move from here to some rooms a few doors off - Lin[4] & I made up our minds it was better - Freer[5] goes in a day or two & it has been really due to his efforts that things have gone as smoothly as they have - Marie[6] quarrels with the waiters & so it is better we have a place to ourselves & also it will be less expensive - We are sorry Freer goes - well blessings go with him - He certainly has earned our gratitude - A more unselfish man [p. 2] I have never known & I should think a truthful one into the bargain - It is such a relief to come across some one with whom money seems secondary & who seems to think there may be more important things in the world than mere self - He is an excellent companion & I would'nt mind going a journey with him - I wish poor Whistler were better - His is a restless spirit - He is always questioning - However he takes bread & milk in the night which oftener than not he vows he does'nt want - but it goes down & often he becomes rather cheerful & relates lively little stories. He is extraordinary - The power he has of calling out devotion - Freer appears with his porridge in the morning & arranges it, as though he had spent his life at it - Later he goes forth to buy fruit & anything [p. 3] that may be wanted. He orders the lunch & discusses the plats[7] with the chef - & Whistler murmurs an occasional, dear good man, dear good Frere [sic], when he is out of the room - Did Lin tell you Frere took us for a drive - Carriage & pair, 3 steps to let down - Frere in a top hat, most immaculate - I felt so amused, perched up on the springs - the beggars felt quite pomped, & I wish you had been there - It was a pretty drive & I felt it was the prettiest country I had ever been in - Such beautiful houses & all so quiet - & peaceful & orderly - but the worst was we felt very sleepy after it - A carriage & pair! Just think of it - Perhaps poverty may be a blessing[.] Certainly one appreciates the good things when they come - I felt quite joyous, but would like to have been seen by a few frinds - Lo Ben I hear has devellopped into a skilful mouse-catcher - He is most dexterous at catching & killing them - He often comes [p. 4] into my mind & I shall be very glad to see him again. The garden sounds very pretty & the sweet-peas must be lovely I had a long hedge made of them but I very much doubt if I shall get back to see them - the doctor does not seem to think he should be moved yet - I forgot to tell you I thought the hat you did for Lin extremely becoming - She has worn it a good deal - I shall leave a space for her so good bye for the present -Take care of yourself & with very best love

Your loving daughter -

Ethie -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [26/28 July 1902]
Dated from the reference to C. L. Freer; he left at the end of the month (see JW's telegram to Freer, [31 July 1902], #11598). JW was ill at the Hotel des Indes, The Hague, in July and August 1902.

2.  Ethel Whibley
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

3.  Frances Philip
Frances Philip (1824-1917), née Black, JW's mother-in-law [more].

4.  Lin
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more].

5.  Freer
Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more].

6.  Marie
A servant.

7.  plats
Fr., dishes.