The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: health, cold
Record 12 of 31

System Number: 03971
Date: [9 or 16 November 1897][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: Stéphane Mallarmé[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M243
Document Type: ALS[3]

'1897 ou 98'

Mon ami -

Je ne vous laisse point de repos! Demain matin à une heure indue je viens sonner à votre porte!

Voici la carte du damné Secretaire[4] - et la situation devient, comme vous voyez, exécrable! - Ce soir même vous m'auriez vu - si ce n'était que mon rhume m'interdit absolument toute sortie possible -

J'ose vous prier de venir encore à mon [p. 2] aide avec le "tacte Mallarmé" infaïble -

J'ai une idée - trouvée dans le cul de sac du désespoir - comique -

Mais je me veux point que vous en soyé géné - Je vous la dirai aprez avoir écouté ce que vous aurait dicté la nécessité grave de l'occasion! -

[butterfly signature]

Mardi soir.

This document is protected by copyright.


My friend -

I simply cannot leave you in peace! Tomorrow morning at some unearthly hour I will come by and ring your doorbell!

Here is the blasted Secretary's card - and the situation, as you can see, is becoming abhorrent! - This very evening you would have seen me - were it not for the fact that my cold prevents me from setting foot outdoors -

I dare to beg you to come to my [p. 2] assistance again with the infallible "Mallarmé tact"

I have an amusing idea - formulated in the depths of despair -

But I in no way wish to bother you with it - I will tell you it after having listened to what would have determined the grave necessity of the occasion to you! -

[butterfly signature]

Tuesday evening


1.  [9 or 16 November 1897]
Dated from the day of the week, and the reference to JW's health, and by C. P. Barbier, who assumed that the letter related to JW's dispute with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], over possession of Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408). JW's appeal in the case of Eden v. Whistler opened on 17 November 1897, and on 2 December JW won his case. JW published his account of the affair in Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24].

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. CLVI, p. 272. The paper has a mourning border.

4.  Secretaire
Not identified. The form of words does not make it clear what is the subject under discussion.