The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Constant, T. C. J.
Record 28 of 32

System Number: 04698
Date: [16 January 1897][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Rosalind Birnie Philip[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P338a
Document Type: ALS[3]

Friday night -

I fancy my dear Major that I may bring down the two birds with one shot and furnish you with a capital woman while I have the husband as Valet! - These are the hopes at present in the Heinemann[4] "Court"! - not that this is Payne's[5] doing - It is just a bit of my luck - that is if it turn out well! - for I haven't seem them yet!! - They are to come [p. 2] in the morning - and if pleased I will wire - In which case you will hear before getting this letter -

The most wonderful recommendations! - The man, a Marine like Constant[6] - He has served in three campagnes! - been all through the Tonquin business - and has four medals! though only about 30 or so - The wife they tell very very nice - - Well tomorrow -

Dined at Dhu House - both Miss Maude[7] & Miss Frank[8] - Very kind and charming -

Cold though is your Mothers[9] house! - and Frank is worked to pieces!

Studio awful - Conversation this afternoon with Lizzie[10] - simple English child - . . . . . . "Yes - and we had another New Years present last night! - - . . a quarter bottle of Whisky" - . .

Oh - I said, and who had that? -

"Why Daddy and Mother of course" - .

Well, I said, but what should you know about it? - "Why I had some too of course!" - Did you indeed? and how much? - "Well I had a glass to myself - Scôtch it was - t'was good! I always has [p. 3] it - and gin sometimes - and rum - but I likes whisky best I does - " . . . But I said doesn't it make you tipsy! - "Oh - gigle! gigle [sic] - I was drunk once!!" . . . and then the infant became inarticulate in the merriment of her recollections -

[sketch of child[11]]

Well à demain -

I shall write to Constant -

You might write to Louise[12] and ask if Constant left the two white jacquettes de service[13] - & are they in the studio - This you might[14] do on your own account - for you can say that of course they were for the service of the studio -

Always affectionately


Kindest messages to your Mama -

This document is protected by copyright.


'JAN. 16th 1897'

Mademoiselle Birnie-Philip
aux soins de
Monsieur McNeill Whistler -
110. Rue du Bac -
[postmark:] LON[DON] W. C. / 4.15 AM / JA16 / 97

[verso:] 4, WHITEHALL COURT,
S. W.


1.  [16 January 1897]
Dated from the postmark. The date was also written by the recipient on the envelope. A second envelope is enclosed with this letter, which dates from much later on (transcribed at #13866).

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

3.  ALS
The letter has deep mourning borders.

4.  Heinemann
William Heinemann (1863-1920), publisher [more]. His address, embossed in blue, is on the envelope flap.

5.  Payne's
Payne, employee or servant of W. Heinemann.

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

7.  Miss Maude
Philippa Maude Philip (1865-1915), JW's sister-in-law [more].

8.  Miss Frank
Frances Septima Philip (1867-1949), JW's sister-in-law [more].

9.  Mothers
Frances Philip (1824-1917), née Black, JW's mother-in-law [more]. She lived at Dhu House in Chelsea.

10.  Lizzie
Elizabeth ('Lizzie') Willis, daughter of JW's housekeeper [more].

11.  sketch of child
Lizzie Willis (M.1501).

12.  Louise
Louise, JW's servant at 110 rue du Bac [more].

13.  jacquettes de service
Fr., smocks.

14.  might
'might do ... General' was written in the left margin of p. 2, and 'Kindest ... Mama -' in the right margin of p. 1, both at right angles to the main text.