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

return to search results

Documents associated with: marriage (JW and BW)
Record 20 of 57

System Number: 08820
Date: [15/20 August 1888?][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Charles James Whistler Hanson[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 1/44/2
Document Type: ALS


I cannot tell you how shocked and surprised I am at what you have done -

Your own account of your conduct is disgraceful - How can you propose that I should listen to any explanation of your being "rather mad" in the presence of any lady? How should you dare to be rude and illmannered [sic] to Madam[3] in her own house! -

It is clear to me that directly my back [p. 2] was turned you threw aside even all appearance of decency, and gave yourself up to your old sloth and horrid-carelessness - never coming to your duties until late in the day - this in itself being a loutish clownish evidence of indifference most disrespectful to the lady of the house, about which I spoke to you once before - and never expected to have occasion to remember again -

It should have been your desire as well as your duty to see in what way you could have cared for Madam during my absence - how you could have helped her in any difficulties with the servants or the daily matters - all this would have been the natural instinct of a gentleman - Instead of which by your own shameful selfishness and miserable example you leave her to struggle as best she may with Mary's[4] drunk[en]ness and misbehaviour while you slouch away on Sunday like some mean little counterjumper! -

This is the return for the confidence I place in you! - and now you venture to insult me by proposing to "explain the reasons" of your boorish insolence and illbreeding to the lady whom it was your business to protect - !

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [15/20 August 1888?]
Dated by extreme language and the recipient's role as JW's secretary.

2.  Charles James Whistler Hanson
Charles James Whistler Hanson (1870-1935), engineer, son of JW and Louisa Fanny Hanson [more]. He had come bottom of his class at King's College on 9 June 1888, and JW thought he was lazy.

The address has been torn off. JW may have been at the Hotel du Helder, 7 and 9 rue du Helder, Paris (see #08020). This was the start of the Whistler's honeymoon, the marriage of JW and Beatrix Godwin having taken place on 11 August 1888.

4.  Madam
Possibly Mary Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), JW's model and mistress [more], whom he had abandoned when he married Beatrix. JW refers to her sister, Edith L. Crossley (b. ca 1861), née Franklin, accountant, sister of Maud Franklin [more], in the letter from the Hotel du Helder, mentioned above (#08020).

5.  Mary's
A servant.