UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Mallarmé, Marie
Record 35 of 40

System Number: 03974
Date: [26 November 1897][1]
Author: Stéphane Mallarmé[2]
Place: Paris
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M246
Document Type: ALS[3]


Paris

Vendredi

Ah! cher Whistler,

l'existence compliquée dès qu'on quitte les forêts... Ainsi je dîne, ce soir - comme chaque Vendredi, du reste - hors de la maison et je n'aurai pas le plaisir de lever ma coupe en l'honneur de l'Avocat Général Bulot[4]; à qui j'envoie, d'autrepart, [p. 2] une carte de visite avec [texte?] texte agréable. Je ne parle, dans cette pression de main qu'est ma rapide réponse à votre lettre amie, pas même de regrets, que ce soir vous manque, attendu qu'il faut être, en dépit du contre-temps, tout au contentement.

Votre

[monogram:] SM

Mon respect à ces Dames[5]


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

Friday

Oh! Dear Whistler,

Such a complicated existence as soon as one leaves the forest - Accordingly I am dining, this evening - as on every Friday, moreover - away from home and I will not have the pleasure of raising my glass in honour of the Assistant Public Prosecutor, Mr Bulot; to whom I send, instead, [p. 2] a visiting card with a pleasant text. I do not even speak, in this handshake which is my rapid response to your friendly letter, of regrets, that you are missed this evening, as is to be expected, in spite of the contretemps, most contentedly.

Yours

[monogram:] SM


Notes:

1.  [26 November 1897]
Dated from the reference to the end of the Eden trial (see below), and from the day of the week; 'Friday' fell on 26 November in 1897.

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

3.  ALS
Published in Barbier, Carl P., ed., Correspondance Mallarmé-Whistler: Histoire de la grande amitié de leurs dernières années, Paris, 1964 [GM, A.28], no. CLIX, p. 276.

4.  l'Avocat Général Bulot
Lé Bulot (1850-1922), barrister, Advocate general[more]. JW's dispute with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], over possession of Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408), started on 14 February 1894, when, with the picture seemingly nearing completion, Eden sent JW a 'Valentine', a cheque for 100 guineas. JW thought this inadequate, and said that the work was incomplete and he was dissatisfied with it. He refused to hand over the portrait, on the grounds that it was the artist's right to withhold a picture in such circumstances. When Eden instituted legal proceedings in November 1894 in order to retrieve the portrait, JW returned all monies that had been paid to him. The Eden v. Whistler trial opened at the Civil Tribunal on 6 March 1895. The verdict on 13 March went against JW, who appealed to the Cour de Cassation. The appeal opened on 17 November 1897, and on 2 December JW won his case and was permitted to keep the picture provided that he did not 'make use of it, public or private'. JW published his account of the affair: Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24]. In a final appeal in April 1900 Eden was ordered to pay all expenses.

5.  ces Dames
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more], and Frances Philip (1824-1917), née Black, JW's mother-in-law [more]. This final sentence is written in the left margin, at right angles to the main text.