The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: health (JW)
Record 7 of 172

System Number: 02603
Date: 15 October 1873
Author: Frederick Dawson Leyland[1]
Place: Harrow
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler L137
Document Type: ALS

[embossed monogram:] FDL


Oct 15th / 73

My dear Jimmie

I was so glad to receive a letter from you, but am awfully sorry to perceive that you are still far from well and also in the Blues[2], which is dreadful (bad grammar that last sentence, who no would not my Harrow master swear)[.] I suppose you cant manage to come down here yet awhile. I heard all the "Tibaldi" scandal[3] from the "intended bride" herself. It's [p. 2] lucky I wasn't in the house, or I would have given that fellow the d most damnable thrashing he ever had in his life, and it ain't boasting, as I reckon I can use my fists to some purpose when needed.

I've had a devil of a row with the governor[4], and I have not written home for the last three weeks, awkward, but, damn it all, I cant help it, as the governor has such a devil of a temper and wont listen to reason. He does not care much (in fact not a little damn) about the Crompton Roberts[5], I do, and as I was asked to spend my [p. 3] "Exeat"[6] there I accepted. But the row was about my wanting to leave this infernal Harrow. I intend, with your permission, to spend a week with you just before 'Xmas[7], if you can manage to receive me, as I am in no hurry to get home. I am going up to Brasenose Coll. Ox[8]. next Whitsuntide, I've got a devil of an exam to pass, but I intend to work it up, for the mother's sake, as I know she would be dreadfully "cut up" if I was "plucked[9]"

[p. 4] Awfully obliged for [tip?]. Very convenient - Hoping you will soon be A.1. and with love to Mrs Whistler[10] and the Doctor[11]

I remain
Yrs truly

Fred D Leyland

I enclose Flo's letter[12]. Just like that wonderful Flo, Aint it?

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1.  Frederick Dawson Leyland
Frederick Dawson Leyland (b. 1856), son of F. R. Leyland [more].

2.  Blues
JW was ill for five weeks with 'Rheumatic fever and Bronchitis combined' in the autumn of 1873 (AMW to M. E. Eastwick, 8 September 1874, #11843). On 11 November 1873 G. P. Boyce reported that he was still in bed but 'getting better' (Diaries, 58).

3.  Tibaldi scandal

4.  governor
Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more].

5.  Crompton Roberts
Charles Henry Crompton Roberts (1832-1891), MP for Sandwich from 1874-1881 [more].

6.  Xmas
Freddie, at 17, seems to be looking on JW (who was 39) as a father/uncle figure. It is not known if the visit took place.

7.  Exeat
Period of leave from school.

8.  Brasenose Coll. Ox
Brasenose College, University of Oxford.

9.  plucked
Slang: failed.

10.  Mrs Whistler
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

11.  Doctor
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

12.  Flo's letter
Florence Leyland (1859-1921), later Mrs Prinsep [more]. Her letter has not been located.