Documents associated with: Henley, William Ernest
Record 3 of 50
System Number: 05340
Date: 19 June 1890
Author: James Runciman
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler R235
Document Type: ALS
19 / 6 / 90
Dear Mr Whistler
1o The book came & I have spent the whole day in going through it. I shd say it is about the wittiest thing going. Wilde's epigram "Vulgarity begins at home &c" is, as you doubtless know, stolen.
2o Henley's note from Scots Observer is good.
3o Between us, I may tell you that a satire by me will soon begin to run through The World. It will be the most terrible thing done in our day - at least so I am told. Before I touch the Art Critics I shall see you: I have not got to them yet.
4o How on earth did a man of genius like you ever get mixed up with a blazing paphead like that man Wilde? I could not stop in a room with him unless I were free to [p. 2] curse. By the way, shd you like to see my address in verse to Oscar Wilde? I had forgotten it, but an editor who preserved a copy told me that it was the best thing of its kind he had seen, so I rooted it out.
5o I want you to explain to me how it is that two chaps like the Wildes who could not earn 200£ a year by fair production of work are put up as personages. Heaven knows I am run after by editors, & I can write where I like & welcome; yet those men, whose English I used to correct amid agonies untold are regarded, I believe, as good journalists, while I am supposed to be a brutal bludgeoner. Can you explain this?
Yours very truly
This is an abbreviation of 'primo' meaning first.
Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890.
Defined in Hallowell's Dictionary as a nipple. However it seems more likely that Runciman was using it in the sense of a head full of pap (mush, baby food).