UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Document associated with: Omphale
Record 1 of 1

System Number: 04150
Date: [February 1892][1]
Author: Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac[2]
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M420
Document Type: ALS[3]


[coronet over coat of arms]

Mon cher Maître! Mon cher Tyran!

Vous savez que je suis, à la fois, plus et moins résigné que Gandara[4] sans en avoir l'air.

Vous tenez la laisse un peu courte; et me savoir libre dès la veille me serait utile pour [p. 2] de certains rendez-vous. Mais vous obéir est doux à qui n'a jamais que décidé; et pour ce premier et dernier exemple de ma soumission, avouez que j'ai bien choisi!

Vous qui avez encore mieux placé la vôtre [p. 3] entre les mains de votre noble et belle Omphale[5], vous y serez pris à votre tour, le jour qu'il lui plaira je vous le dis en vérité, que vous cessiez de ne pas finir ce qui est déjà, et depuis longtemps Infini!

Ainsi-soit-il!

RMF

[p. 4] P. S. Et, ce que vous aurez vu ce matin était plus et moins qu'un Ministre!


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Translation:

My dear Master!

My dear Tyrant!

You know that I am at, at once, more and less resigned than Gandara without giving this impression.

You keep me on rather a tight rein; and it would be helpful for me in respect of certain rendezvous, to know that I were free as of the previous day. But obedience to you is sweet to him who has never done anything but decide; in making this my first and last demonstration of submission, you must admit that I have chosen well!

You who have even better placed yours in the hands of your noble and beautiful Omphale, you will be taken in turn, the day it so pleases her I speak the truth, so that you cease from not completing that which is already, and has for a long time been Infinite!

So be it!

RMF

P.S. And, what you will have seen this morning was more and less than a Minister!


Notes:

1.  [February 1892]
Dated by the reference to Gandara (see below).

2.  Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac
Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (1855-1921), Symbolist writer and poet, and collector [more]. He posed for Arrangement in Black and Gold: Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (YMSM 398).

3.  ALS
Published in Newton, Joy, La Chauve-Souris et le Papillon. Correspondance Montesquiou-Whistler, Glasgow, 1990, no. 83, p. 167.

4.  Gandara
Antonio de la Gandara (1862-1917), portrait painter and pastellist [more], who stood in for Montesquiou during sessions in Paris.

5.  Omphale
Omphale, the Lydian queen to whom Hercules was enslaved for the murder of Iphitus. This is probably a rather obscure reference to Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].