The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Record 17 of 26

System Number: 05961
Date: [May/December 1889?][1]
Author: Emilia A. Venturi[2]
Place: [London]
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler V50
Document Type: ALS

Friday night

Dear but tiresome couple!

Why do we play at hide and seek? At my age the game is fatiguing -

I have been rushing round all day and can't go back to the King's[3] till tomorrow, yet here, where the whole place is pervaded by plumbers, brick-layers ed altri simili insetti[4] - as we say in a happier clime - my sorrows are greater than I can bear!

[p. 2] However, though persecuted by fate, I am not unmindful of my fellow creatures and Jimmie - though American - and Charlie[5] - (we'll have no King but Charlie!) although an Irish-man are both of them fellow creatures; and if you wish to know why I lost my train and returned here to sleep in the plumber-pervaded household - which the his name for I will not deceive you, it is Jimmie! I toiled to the House of Commons and waited a whole hour in that - not to put too fine a point upon it [p. 3] d—d Lobby; saw J. L. Carew[6] Esqre M P for Kildare. He was - as he always is - handsome - he was as he generally is within the sacred precincts - distrait et preoccupé[7] [sic] - but he beamed over the portrait question[8] - There were possibilities of the Chief's arrival in the House this very night as is; but anyway [as?] as soon as he did should heave in sight the cutter Carew would bear down upon the Man of war Parnell, and inform the said Man of war how the sloop Emilia[9] had borne down upon the Cutter, and how the Cutter had succumbed, and the man of war had got to succumb.

[p. 4] The Cutter would telegraph to the sloop and the Sloop was to telegraph to the Captain's Gig[10] - That, summarized, is the result, and you must possess your souls in patience, certain that all that can be done will be done to tow the man of war into port - I have scrawled this in bed, the scabbard being worn to smithereens by the mighty sword within - and so Beatrix[11] and Jim o' Tricks Ado -

yours very muchly

E A V.

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1.  [May/December 1889?]
This letter probably dates from mid 1889, when it appeared that Parnell had been falsely accused of knowledge of or involvement in the Phoenix Park Murders. A Parliamentary Commission issued its report in February 1890, absolving him of any such involvement. However in December 1889 Captain O'Shea filed a petition for divorce on the grounds of his wife's adultery with Parnell, and the decree was granted on 17 November 1890. This effectively ended his political career.

2.  Emilia A. Venturi
Emilie Venturi (d. 1893), née Ashurst, wife (1) of Sydney Hawkes, and (2) Carlo Venturi [more].

3.  King's
Not identified.

4.  ed altri simili insetti
It., and other similar insects

5.  Charlie
Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891), Irish Nationalist leader and MP [more].

6.  J. L. Carew
James Laurence Carew (1853 -1903), MP [more].

7.  distrait et preoccupé
Fr., absent-minded and preoccupied

8.  portrait question
JW did not paint Parnell.

9.  Emilia
Meaning herself, E. A. Venturi.

10.  Gig
A light, narrow, clinker-built ship's boat; also a fast rowing boat.

11.  Beatrix
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].