The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Document associated with: Hastings, Mrs
Record 1 of 1

System Number: 06313
Date: [14 July 1896][1]
Author: JW
Place: Honfleur
Recipient: Ethel Whibley[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W307
Document Type: ALI[3]

Hotel de la ferme St. Simeon.
Honfleur. Calvados.

My dear Bunnie and Major[4] -

We had an abominable dinner at Southampton - for which, judging from OK's[5] face, a huge price must have been paid to the British bandit who waited upon us - and who nearly poisoned us with what he called coffee - The boat was the same one we crossed in the last time! - an[d] the Stewardess recognised me and asked after Trixie[6]! - The Major will remember her - Poor thing she did her best to help [p. 2] us - and of course I was miserable - and have been all day - Here we are, and the place would be under other circumstances charming - I mean especially the hotel - which is as you see from its name an old farm - and we breakfasted in the open - surrounded with orchards and gaping at the sea in front of us - Of course also I fell into a flock of Britons - who called at me and introduced themselves boisterously - Mrs. Hastings[7]! - and men folk - the Comyns Carr[8] lot! - And of course also I was so frozen in return that they fell back on their haunches - and have been playing croquet or skittles all the afternoon to forget! - But isn't it a sort of fate! - I dont know what to say - still I fancy we shall stay here - at any rate as headquarters - even if we wander about in the neighborhood -

Again of course - from a painting point of view - the day has been damnable! The sky like the Barnetts polished coal scuttle - The sun without an eyelid! Impossible to look at any thing -

On the other hand I have had something like an appetite! and have been frightfully sleepy - OK is delighted! -

Went into the church - which is excellent - and began a little picture - If I could have found the old woman or a verger I should have put up a candle for Trixie - Indeed I wish I were a Catholic - I dont know after all -

Probably we shall cross over again on Sunday night - and turn up on Monday morning -

So perhaps after all we may as well hold out another week at the Cottage -

This must go now - if even [sic, ever] at all [p. 3] in time - which I doubt - as by the way we are in full fête! -

Many things to both of you -

I may be getting better - but I am awfully depressed! Fancy coming the route over again - without thinking. -

What is to become


Well never mind Bunnie - I shall get back to the pictures again - and you & the Major are very very good - & I am very fond of you - and I daresay you will all get up early and shut all the doors in another and an easier world!

So thats all right -[9]

This document is protected by copyright.


Mrs Whibley -
St. Judes Cottage -
Heath End -
Hampstead -
[postmark:] HONFLEUR / CALVADOS / 4E 14 / JUIL / 96
[postmark on verso:] LON[DON] / O [ ] / JY [ ] / 9[6]

[on verso, another hand, in pencil:] 'First journey written after his wife's death'


1.  [14 July 1896]
Dated from the postmark.

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

3.  ALI
The stationery has a deep mourning border.

4.  Major
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more].

5.  OK's
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

6.  Trixie
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more]. This was JW's first trip after her death.

7.  Mrs. Hastings
Mrs Hastings, unidentified.

8.  Comyns Carr
Joseph Williams Comyns Carr (1849-1916), art critic and theatre manager [more].

9.  So thats all right -
Written in the left margin, at right angles to the main text.