The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Mr Whistler's Lithographs, The Fine Art Society, London, 1895
Record 20 of 84

System Number: 06633
Date: [7 November 1895][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Lyme Regis]
Recipient: Beatrix Whistler[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W627
Document Type: ALS

They are going on Chinkie - at least I think so - these fruits of the Lamp! though I scarcely venture to whisper it -

Only I may tell my own Luck in her ear - dont you think so - just to keep us both up - And Chink how right you were - in making me stay here - for if I had gone without carrying these works on - I should have have [p. 2] remained in the bitter fog - of indecision and want of pluck -

I think mind you Chinkie that the great Lady may be pleased with what the Grinder has been hammering out on his piano! - & I think that I really have at last learned that which will carry me through all the rest - so that at last I may sail out into the open and navigate & manoeuvre as I please! [p. 3] and not be any longer grinding myself to pieces! - Dear me what a terrible tyrant is the Goddess! - and how endless her work & her exactions! -

Do you think she will be kind afterwards and allow us to enjoy her bidding & be at least happy? -

Don't go on the other hand and prepare for too great success - & be [p. 4] disappointed with your servant - This work may & doubtless will bear evidence, to the innermost, of the agonies we have gone through - Scars! - deep scars - you will perhaps find - but even they may not be without an attraction! - and in the work we may seem less boyish - but perhaps also less irresponsable!.

Who knows! -

I am woefully troubled about your dislike to Kennedy[3] - It is curious by the way his asking about Mary Duncan[4] - [p. 5] I never said a word to him about her -

I am so glad Chinkie my darling that you [are] feeling stronger - Do keep on - he puts it in the little prayer - & thinks of her always -

How do you like the "Early Bus"? I sometimes just manage to catch it & when I drop the the little billet doux [p. 6] out of the parlour window, the coachman touches his hat and holds it up with both hands, that the message he is entrusted with may come to no harm - and puts it in his breast pocket with a great air of appreciation & importance! -

I believe they all adore me! -

I have long business papers to attend to for Huish[5] -

So now Goodnight my own sweetheart - write & tell what you think of all this -

And [6]more about yourself -

And bless always the t[w]o dear Wams

Love to the Major
& dear love to my Chinkie

[p. 7] The Early Bus!

Only Good Morrow pretty Ladie!

Little letter delightful Dear Luck -

[butterfly signature]

Writing tonight -

This document is protected by copyright.


Mrs. J. McNeill Whistler
Garlants Hotel
Suffolk Street -
Pall Mall -
London -
[postmark:] LYME·REGIS / A / NO 7 / 95


1.  [7 November 1895]
Dated from the postmark.

2.  Beatrix Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more], who was at this time seriously ill with cancer. JW calls her 'Chinkie', 'Luck' and 'Lady', and refers to himself and Beatrix as the 'Wams'. He calls himself the 'Grinder' (a workman).

3.  Kennedy
Dr Samuel Kennedy (b. ca 1848), surgeon.

4.  Mary Duncan
Mary G. Duncan, friend of JW and his sister-in-law, R. B. Philip.

5.  Huish
Marcus Bourne Huish (1843 - d.1921), barrister, writer and art dealer, Director of the Fine Art Society [more]. He was planning Mr Whistler's Lithographs, The Fine Art Society, London, 1895.

6.  And
The letter is written on four cards, and JW obviously intended to finish with the lines 'And more ... Chinkie', written along the left and top margins of p. 1, at right angles to the main text. However, he must have then received a letter from Beatrix and scrawled a quick response on the last card, p. 7 .