The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', H. Wunderlich and Co., New York, 1889
Record 5 of 32

System Number: 01436
Date: 24 April 1887
Author: Mary Bacon Ford[1]
Place: At sea, off Salvador
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler F368
Document Type: ALS

Off Salvador:
Nearing "the disappointed Continent[2]"

April 24 : 1887

I am surrounded by miles and miles of the stuff that dreams in the shape of that little water-color[3] of yours are made of - and I have been among these waters - & these people - & this bill of fare for many a day -

We are nearly over: which means that I am nearly back again -

Why did you not send the little pictures[4] for me to take?

And how are you?

Drop me a line to 60 Clinton Place if you will - New York of course - and make a bright spot in the waste of work awaiting me - in my own land - as elsewhere -

The more I think of it the more I wonder that I had the heart to leave you all - & the more [p. 2] I prize all the kindness that was showered upon me -

I sail toward the end of May - and then I settle myself among you: and then New Bond St will take up its bed & walk[5] -

The sea sends all sorts of messages to you: the paper is dampened with their weight -

Faithfully Yours

Mary: Bacon: Martin:

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1.  Mary Bacon Ford
Mary Bacon Ford, née Martin, art agent [more].

2.  the disappointed Continent
An allusion to a phrase used by JW (in #11432 and #07113) about a projected lecture tour of the States; the phrase was also echoed by Theodore Child in #13182 and #00609.

3.  water-color
Watercolours such as Arrangement in blue and silver - The Great Sea (M.1043) and Blue and Silver - Afternoon, the Channel (M.1045), could have been known to Ford.

4.  the little pictures
JW planned an exhibition in the States, of the small oils, watercolours and pastels on which he was now concentrating. It eventually took place two years later, 'Notes' - 'Harmonies' - 'Nocturnes', H. Wunderlich and Co., New York, 1889.

5.  take up its bed & walk
Echoing the words of Jesus in Mark 2.9 and John 5.8-9.