The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Record 12 of 17

System Number: 11716
Date: [November 1883/May 1884?][1]
Author: Constance Wilde[2]
Place: London
Recipient: Oscar Wilde[3]
Place: [unknown][4]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 19/1871/9-10
Document Type: TLc


100 Lancaster Gate[5]

Wednesday morning

My darling Oscar,

Such a lovely lily has just come from you and I am so happy over it: how very sweet of you to send it: it is like a flower from Paradise bringing memories of Heaven and all lovely things. I am getting thro' this week much better than the last, tho' the time still seems very long, and last night was horrible: fortunately I had my cousin Lizzie Napier[6] sleeping with me for I get so frightened at night. The wind was howling furiously and suddenly there cam[e] a crash as if the house were coming down, & after a few minutes another. We have not yet discovered what had happened. The wind always makes me think of death & separation and terrifies me into a state of horrors. I got your note yesterday in the middle of the morning: I wish you were not so tired, perhaps you had better not come to London next Sunday! You must not give up any more Saturday lectures, and if you won't promise to have a proper supper you are not to come & see me on Saturday evening. I am still very angry with you for not telling me you were starving last Saturday, I think it was so unkind: as it was, I should have insisted on your having something only I never feel at home here: I am only just like a visitor myself. I am afraid you will have to go to Mr Whistler's [7]without me. I am very sorry: please don't let him be offended or think I did not want to come. If I go & call on the Harrises[8] on Sunday afternoon, will you come: fetch me from there & bring me (p. 2) home? I went to lunch with Mrs Bown[9] yesterday, then to the watercolour exhibition with her, & after that I went & saw Mrs [Snagge?][10], & Otho[11] brought me home. To-morrow Otho & I are going to dine with Mrs Bown. I cannot write more as I have to go & see Mrs Cochrane[12] who is up in town for a day or two. Indeed, I have nothing to write except that I love you: that is all I think about always, how I can love you more than I do, or make you know how much I love you. I am so cold and undemonstrative outwardly: you must read my heart and not any outward semblance if you wish to know how passionately I worship and love you; yet it seems as if nothing I could ever do or say could ever give form, I have no words to express the feelings in my heart.

With all devotion
I am for ever yrs.


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1.  [November 1883/May 1884?]
Dated from address.

2.  Constance Wilde
Constance Mary Wilde (1858-1898), née Lloyd, wife of Oscar Wilde [more].

3.  Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more].

4.  [unknown]
At this time Wilde was lecturing at many different venues around Britain, 'civilising the provinces' as he put it (Ellmann, Richard, Oscar Wilde, London, 1987, p. 232).

5.  100 Lancaster Gate
Constance's home since 1878, which belonged to her grandfather, John Horation Lloyd, QC, and where she was looked after by her aunt Emily Lloyd. The Wildes stayed here for a few days after their marriage, in about August 1885.

6.  Lizzie Napier
Mary Eliza Napier, first cousin of Constance Wilde.

7.  Mr Whistler
For information on Wilde's British lectures and a marmoset he gave Constance at this time, called 'Jimmy' for its whistling (which unfortunately died), see Ellmann, Richard, Oscar Wilde, London, 1987, p. 232.

8.  Harrises
James Thomas ('Frank') Harris (1856-1931), writer and playwright, editor of the Fortnightly Review and Saturday Review [more], and his wife.

9.  Mrs Bown
Mrs Bown, a friend of O. Wilde.

10.  Mrs [Snagge?]
Maria F. Snagge (b. ca 1837), wife of a barrister, Thomas W. Snagge [more].

11.  Otho
Otho Holland Lloyd (1856-1943), barrister and translater, brother of Constance Wilde [more].

12.  Mrs Cochrane
Mrs Cochrane, a friend of Oscar Wilde.