The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 96th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1864
Record 11 of 12

System Number: 02517
Date: 5 April 1896
Author: Miriam Levy[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler L53
Document Type: ALS

Mrs Miriam Levy
Strand Union[2]

5 - 4 - 96

Dear Sir

Many years ago - I accompanied you and a young woman ([c]alled Annie du Maurier[3]) - and a Greek - named Ionides[4] to Rotherithe [sic] to see a Picture - a nautical[5] one I think you were then about finishing - I write this to you knowing you will recall the circumstance - of so many years ago - I may as well tell you I am Sister, to that Levy[6] who used to delight all the frequenters at Covent Gardens, so long ago[.] I have written him, many times but he takes no notice of me

[p. 2] Dear Mr Whistler will you give this to George Du Maurier[7] for me asking him, for assistance - to enable me to get from this Institution and I hope as God has been merciful to and made him a Successfull [sic] man he will not deny this first appeal[8] he never thought his [frene?], would enter the union - and I am still in hopes of reading Trilby[9] - and if you have a [now?] volume, try and send me one with his answer - I have seen Kike[10]. Many times his Daughters Sons and Wife I spoke to him once, since my Husband, and Sons death, its [sic] but he was so abrubt [sic]. My Heart fell too [sic] [p. 3] my feet, he said he could not think of speaking to me has [sic] he was married

I had not forgotten the first time he came to from a large Party - he was very much in love at first sight - and I remember him saying she was the most Graceful[11] girl he ever saw and also the Picture he drew of her - he called it Non Satis[12] - I have often thought such a good lady would not be unkind but I thought better of it[,] if you will persuade Du Maurier to do this favour for me, and the same time if you can spare [p. 4] a little, you will be conferring, an everlasting favour on one you knew - for her happier days -

With kind regards, believe me Ever yours Gratefully

Levys Sister

Excuse Grammar [sic]

to Mr James. Whistler, Artist;
Per for Mr George Du Maurier
Auther [sic]

With thanks

[p. 5] Dear Mr Whistler
I feel certain you will not fail, to give this to Du Maurier: for I can assure you - it is a case of Emergency - I have been close to his house many times[.] I know I may trust you, as a gentleman to give this too [sic] your friend -

good bye

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1.  Miriam Levy
Miriam Levy, a friend of Ionides.

2.  Strand Union
A workhouse in Edmonton in the Borough of Enfield.

3.  Maurier
Emma Du Maurier (d. 1915), née Wightwick, wife of the writer[more].

4.  Ionides
Alexander ('Aleco') Ionides (1840-1898), businessman [more].

5.  nautical
Double underlined. Wapping (YMSM 35) was finally exhibited at the 96th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1864.

6.  Levy
Given her obvious difficulty in writing, spelling and grammar, Miriam Levy may have been illiterate or incapacitated in some way. It is not clear if she was really a sister, sister-in-law, daughter or daughter-in-law of Joseph Moses Levy (1812-1888), chief proprietor of the Sunday Times [more]. Levy had eight children. Du Maurier mentioned an evening spent with the Levy family in November 1860, 'Went to the Levies and enjoyed it very much. Lawson and I got on very well - little Annie a love of a beauty and so quiet - Angelina a darling'; he also wrote that he had dined in Leicester Square with Polly, another Levy (letters to his mother and Tom, Du Maurier, Daphne, ed., The Young George du Maurier: A Selection of his Letters, 1860-67, London, 1951, pp. 24-25). This may possibly suggest that Du Maurier was having an affair with one of the Levy girls. The Lawson Levi mentioned by Du Maurier may have been Lawrence Levy, who managed the Garrick theatre from 1854-1864 and 1867-1868. At the time of the 1881 census J. M. Levy was living at 51 Lower Grosvenor Street with his wife, two girls, Matilda (aged 32) and Florence (aged 24) and numerous servants, but no Miriam is mentioned.

7.  Maurier
George Louis Palmella Busson Du Maurier (1834-1896), author and caricaturist [more].

8.  appeal
Double underlined.

9.  Trilby
Du Maurier, George, 'Trilby,' Harper's New Monthly Magazine, serialised, begun 1 January 1894; reprinted (expunged) as Trilby: A Novel, New York, 1894; regular ed., London and New York, 1895.

10.  Kike
Double underlined. 'Kicky' was Du Maurier's nickname.

11.  Graceful
Double underlined.

12.  Non Satis
A wood engraving of Du Maurier's drawing Non Satis, an illustration to Berni's poem of the same name, was published in Once a Week, 1860; Dumaurier, op. cit., p. 22, repr, f. p. 48.