The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Constant, T. C. J.
Record 14 of 32

System Number: 04681
Date: [12 October 1896][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Rosalind Birnie Philip[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P321
Document Type: ALS

'Oct 12. 1896'

S. W.

Major! Major!

What's the matter? -

You know there is no use trying to keep things from me - and that is what you flatter yourself you are doing!

Some thing has gone wrong - and of course I have perceived it all through your last two or three letters - Which by the way, also [p. 2] have halted and hesitated and not come spontaneously or at any rate readily as heretofore -

Now what is it? - You see the affair of the mess made of the illuminations or procession has been in no way explained - and very little indeed has been said about it! - Did you think I would n't notice the way in which you were passing it over with a word or two! - Why I was awfully disappointed! - I meant you to be on that balcony - with Bunnie[4] and I wanted your Mother[5] to go too, that you might all see one of the most wonderful sights it will ever be your good fortune to behold - - I wired to you & I telegraphed to Bunnie and you tell me you fear I was not understood!!! - this too in the face of the letter[6] which you received in the morning & in plenty of time -

No - there was a muddle made of it - & you had better tell us all about it - Something has vexed you Major - what is it - ? -

Of course that there should be no cab! is quite an irrelevant statement - Who dreamt of your Mother & yourself going accross [sic] Paris on such an occasion in a cab! - Why was not a carriage ordered? Why Major did you not order a carriage directly Bunnie got my telegram the first thing in the morning, & then you should all have gone to the Harold Fredericks[7] early in the afternoon & staid there - However there is something at the bottom [p. 3] of it all you have not yet told me -

I will tell you of myself when you make your confession - meanwhile I will not hide from you that Walter Sickert[8] has been in town for days - He has not presented himself to me - but has been parading Bond Street with Sir William Eden[9] & George Moore[10]! -

It is all right about Constant[11] and the 25gs -

This must go! -

With kindest messages affectionately

the general

This document is protected by copyright.


'Oct. 12th 1896'

Mademoiselle Burnie-Philip
aux soins de
Monsieur J McNeill Whistler
110. Rue du Bac -
Paris -
[stamp:] POSTAGE AND REVENUE / 2½d
[postmark:] BEDFORD - ST - (S-O) WC / 9. PM / OC 12 / 96


1.  12 October 1896
The postmark confirms the date written later by the recipient on both letter and envelope.

2.  Rosalind Birnie Philip
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more]. JW called her 'Major' and himself 'General'.

The address of William Heinemann (1863-1920), publisher [more], embossed in blue on both letter and reverse flap of envelope.

4.  Bunnie
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

5.  Mother
Frances Philip (1824-1917), née Black, JW's mother-in-law [more].

6.  letter
Not located. The official visit of Nicholas II Romanov (1868-1918), Tsar of Russia from 1894-1917 [more], to Paris on 5 - 8 October was marked with huge celebrations.

7.  Harold Fredericks
Harold Frederic (1856-1898), novelist and journalist [more]. His London publisher was also JW's publisher, William Heinemann. Frederic lived with his wife, Grace Green Williams, and their five children in London, but from 1891 also kept up a second household in Surrey, with his mistress, Kate Lyon and their three children.

8.  Walter Sickert
Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), artist and writer on art [more]. JW fell out with Sickert over his friendship with Eden.

9.  Sir William Eden
Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more]. On 4 March 1895 Eden had brought an action against JW for not handing over the portrait of his wife, Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408). JW was not satisfied with the manner and amount of payment for it. Judgement went against JW. JW's appeal was heard in Paris in December 1897, the original judgement was reversed and he was allowed to keep the picture. In 1899 JW published his account of the Eden case: Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24].

10.  George Moore
George Moore (1852-1933), novelist and art critic [more].

11.  Constant
T. C. J. Constant, JW's servant and valet [more].