The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: health (JW)
Record 161 of 172

System Number: 04619
Date: 2 September 1902
Author: Harper Pennington[1]
Place: New York
Recipient: JW
Place: [The Hague]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P259
Document Type: ALS

234, Fifth Avenue
New York

Sept. 2nd 1902.

My dear Jimmy -

As an acquaintance, I hope you won't resent my saying how sorry I was to hear that you had been ill, & how enchanted to read the delicious letter[2] which proved how much better you were.

François Coppée[3] wrote some pretty verses about convalescence, once upon a time, "Console Planco", in which, as I remember, he says the patient does not dislike to recall his malady - "qui lui fait un miroir des Amitiés fidèles"[4]. My dear fellow, you cannot hide your big heart from all of us to save your life, no matter how loudly you protest that you have none. There are a few who have seen it - & they will never forget.

Waldo[5] turned up in New York, last winter, before Xmas. We feasted a good deal. Waldo is a mere boy still - just as jolly & full of fun as he was long ago, when there was a campanile in the Piazza of S. Marco[6].

You may roar at me as much as ever [p. 2] you please, but I was touched by your letter to the Post, especially by what you said of Swinburne[7]. That was charming, charming, & it pleased me the more because I thought I saw forgiveness in it.

If it were not for my four girls and their Mamma[8], & mine, I would run over to see you for a few hours, just to hear you laugh again & to [retramper?] in the fine air which always surrounds you. But I don't forget you - any more than you forget me. Every now & then somebody gives me a little message from you - Of course I had rather see the butterfly fluttering at the end of a good long letter, but ——

So - hurry to get quite well, & show your "acquaintances" (that isn't a pretty word, but you have no 'friends', you say,) how strong you are by making more masterpieces to delight our eyes.

Yours as ever,

Harper Pennington

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1.  Harper Pennington
Robert Goodloe Harper Pennington (1854-1920), artist [more].

2.  letter
Not located. During the summer of 1902, he was taken seriously ill during a trip to Holland. When a report about his condition appeared in Morning Post, it seemed to him like an obituary and he wrote a letter to the editor in his usual acerbic style (Whistler, James McNeill, 'Latest Bulletin From Mr. Whistler,' The Morning Post, 6 August 1902; #09458).

3.  François Coppée
François Coppée (1842-1908), poet [more].

4.  'qui lui fait un miroir des Amitiés fidèles'
Fr., which becomes to him a reflection of faithful friendships.

5.  Waldo
Thomas Waldo Story (1854-1915), sculptor [more].

6.  campanile in the Piazza of S. Marco
JW and Pennington had met in Venice in 1880. The campanile in St Mark's square collapsed on 14 July 1902.

7.  Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), poet and critic [more].

8.  Mamma
Caroline Pennington (b. 1869), née de Wolf Theobald [more].