The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Beurdeley, Paul
Record 14 of 43

System Number: 03956
Date: [26 February 1895?][1]
Author: Stéphane Mallarmé[2]
Place: Paris
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M228
Document Type: ALS[3]



Cher Whistler

Vu Beurdeley[4] avant-hier,

Mais d'abord, que je vous dise notre joie ici de savoir Madame Whistler[5] en presque bonne santé. Nous avons été très chagrins et puis je sentais le contre-coup de son état, elle, le sourire et le rire, malade, est-ce humain! Sur vous, cher ami, en travail et entrant dans une période magnifique de vous-même.

Comme je vous aime, ou le dirait très anciennement vous deux, j'était [sic] tout à fait [p. 2] peiné et je remercie la dame qui donne de la joie aux autres rien qu'en se portant bien.

Je vais donc parler procès, comme drôlerie. Sérieusement, Beurdeley a très intelligemment compris, par lui et d'après notre conversation. Il fera tout porter sur le parfait point d'honneur, d'un artiste digne et haut comme Whistler, ayant à faire à un sot mal éléve. Trois au quatre détails que je n'ai pas su lui fournir, il vous les demandera et va étudier Whistler dans tous les documents et piocher le procès Ruskin[6].

Au revoir; quand la rue de Bac[7] existera-t-elle.

Votre main, fort


De[8] bons souvenirs à Miss Philipp[9] et je me permets de l'écrire sur la même ligne, à Whibley[10].

This document is protected by copyright.


Dear Whistler

Saw Beurdeley the day before yesterday,

But firstly, I must tell you of our joy here in learning that Mrs Whistler has almost recovered her health. We were very upset and I felt the repercussions of her state, she who was all smiles and laughter, ill, how cruel! On you, dear friend, at work and entering a magnificent period of your life.

As I love you, or as I have said for a very long time now, you two, I was absolutely [p. 2] distraught and I thank the lady who brings joy to others simply for being in good health.

I am now going to talk trial, to lighten things up. Seriously, Beurdeley has very intelligently understood, by himself and from our conversation. He will have everything carried on the perfect point of honour, of a distinguished and worthy artist like Whistler, having to deal with an ill-raised idiot. I was unable to supply him with three or four details, he will ask you for them and is going to study Whistler in all the documents and scrutinize the Ruskin case.

Farewell; when will rue de Bac come into existence?

A firm handshake


Remember us to Miss Philipp and I allow myself to write this in the same line, to Whibley.


1.  [26 February 1895?]
Dated '26 Février 1895?' by Barbier (see below), a date supported by the almanac; and also by the reference to the Eden v Whistler trial, which opened on 27 February 1895.

2.  Stéphane Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Symbolist writer and poet [more].

3.  ALS
Published by Barbier, Carl P., ed., Correspondance Mallarmé-Whistler: Histoire de la grande amitié de leurs dernières années, Paris, 1964 [GM, A.28], no. CXXXVII, pp. 242-43.

4.  Beurdeley
Paul Beurdeley (1842-after 1902), advocate at the Cour d'Appel, Paris [more]. He represented JW for his forthcoming appeal in the case of Eden v Whistler which opened on 27 February. On 6 March 1895, Beurdeley made a strong attack on the behaviour, as collector, of Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], stating that it was the artist, not the baronet, that had behaved in a correct and gentlemanly manner.

5.  Madame Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more], who was seriously ill with cancer.

6.  Ruskin
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more].

7.  la rue de Bac
JW's address in Paris was 110 rue du Bac.

8.  De
'De ... permets' is written in the left margin of p. 2, and the remainder in the left margin of p. 1, at right angles to the main text.

9.  Miss Philipp
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more]; she married Charles Whibley in July 1895.

10.  Whibley
Charles Whibley (1859-1930), writer and journalist [more]. 'de l'écrire sur la même ligne, à Whibley' is written in the left margin of p. 1, at right angles to the main text.