UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Morgan, Elizabeth
Record 4 of 9

System Number: 06382
Date: 20 January 1849
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: [St Petersburg]
Recipient: JW
Place: [London[2]]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W378
Document Type: ALS


Saturday morning Jan 20th 1849.

I almost am persuaded that I ought not to write you this time as dear fathers[3] letter will convey to you our united love & thoughts about you our precious Jemie[4], but your notes are so cheering to me dear boy I never like to leave any unacknowledged, you will write us once a week henceforth, it is all the same to which of the loving trio at home you address your reports of yourself[.] Willie[5] intended answering yours to him during his holiday, it seemed long enough for tasks & recreation & paying off all his debts in this way, at its commencement! but the cold weather I think chilled his energies & the suspence & sadness we felt about dear Sis[6] made every exertion the more difficult, he is at this moment in my room. I am writing by the parlor fire - & I hear him studying his Russian history with all his might. On Monday he re-enters his classes, not to have a days holiday till Maasnitza[7], 7 long weeks off, & as he has promised father he will earn a character & mount in his teachers favor I ask him to do nothing to interfere with his preparations which must be finished before sun set. We have one of our brightest days, the sun was gilding the windows of the Academy[8] before we breakfasted this morning & I hope while I am walking across the river[9] to call on Mrs Morgan[10] by & by I shall see some brilliant skies. Willie goes then to the Manége[11] to ride with Mrs Ropes[12], as we have only five deg. of frost & such bright weather she will take her children [p. 2] to see Mama, Papa, Aunty Louisa & Willie[13] capering round the ring. They are darling good children & were really acquisitions yesterday afternoon at Willies hastily collected & select party. Even little Willie gave no trouble, I had about 16 to make tea for, but Miss MacMaster[14] came with Helen & Kathe[15] and my kind neighbour came in after her dinner to feast her eyes & to help me to help the numerous hungry playfellows. Sis would have been charmed as a listener to the duetts [sic] the two Woods[16] played so much to the credit of their excellent Governess, for she has allowed them to neglect nothing else. We had not much dancing, neither the Woods or Handysides[17] are fond of it, and the Morgans who are trained graces, were too sick to come, but all seemed happy, Cook had made some of her most transparent jelly in lieu of fruit which one does not offer in these Cholera times[18], and if English palates did not fancy pea-nuts the American lads were not slow to help themselves, & Stuarts sugar plums & candy went around. There were fragments enough left to fill two papers, for Charlie E & Hen H[19] to take home to their Sisters[20], as their parents[21] declined letting them come in such damp weather, yesterday we had a thaw & a sudden storm of wind & rain added to the favor of any coming so far to Willies party - he wished to have gone to Alexandroffsky[22] to stay all night with the Eastwicks as had been partly promised, but he has a cough & Father objected, so I asked Charlie to stay tomorrow after church till Monday morning with Will & we shall go to hear Mr Ellerbys[23] sermon to the young which he delivers annually & we have notice of it.

Charlie Eastwick is a most charming boy, we shall all grieve to part from him, I wish Willie could have such a class mate & so does he, for I think he sees as I point out many defects in Vanderfleet[24] he is an idle boy & last evening behaved as rudely as did Hen & Phil[25] - tho he is a trained waltzer &c. I hope Willie will make his books his resource for lack of friends among his classmates. You know Jemie dear we are judged by our chosen associates! beware of the influence of idle lads my son. Oh that God may open a door for you to improve this most important period of your life, to gain habits of order & study - rightly to divide your time, to redeem that which you have lost from years of ill health, to store your memory now with useful knowledge, what you learn in youth you will never forget - reflect seriously Jemie upon how little you have read, upon how much you ought now to read! When you attain manhood, cares will interfere with study, but now you have none, remember my darling Jemie Mothers old adage obedience is the mainspring of happiness, to the Commandments of God first, & to parents & teachers under Him. Do not misunderstand me & suppose I would stupify you with study. I delight in your cheerfulness my dear boy, I only warn you not to be a butterfly sporting about from one temptation to idleness to another, the improvement of your mind I know will increase your happiness. How interested both Father & I feel to hear where you are next to be placed. Oh that your tutor, or teachers may be good men, christians as well as scholars! For after all dear boy unless practical religion mingles with literature it will not fit you for doing your duty in the state of life to which God will call you, if your years on earth are many, or prepare you to meet your Heavenly Father in an eternal home. but [p. 4] you must resist evil example, if it is among the temptations which are to try you - for you have a faithful monitor within your breast if you make the bible your study & if you try to do as you pray. Whenever you deviate from the safe path may God in mercy bestow upon you heart felt repentance. May you have the beginning of Wisdom, the fear of Him. After this lecture Jemie darling will you still write me your thoughts as they flow? it is your safe guard that you do so & our comfort & happy assurance that our absent dear boy looks still to Father & Mother to sympathise & advise. Kiss Sis & baby[26] for us. Love to Seymour[27] & all who are numbered in his family circle, also to Mrs Smith[28] and Mrs Merriellees[29][.] Remember me to Mr & Mrs Phillips [30]& my love to Anna Maria[31]. I this moment opened an envelope directed by Mr Fairbanks[32] to Father with American news, because I am so greedy for your thoughts, but no word of or from Sloane St. I sent one to Sis yesterday & shall write Mrs Haden[33] & my dear sisters[34] as soon as I can. Many thanks to all who have shewn kindness to you in your holiday. All your friends here write in love to you, and will expect to see you greatly improved when they welcome you to Russia again. While you are storing your mind, dont neglect your bodily benefit, how are the shoulders? Stooping injures health & neglecting to take care of your ivory will cause self reproach & mortification when too late. You know dear Jemie I have tried to let you profit by my sad experience by warning you in time to attend to your teeth. And while I feel so keenly my deprivation of your society you ought to try to comfort me by daily attention to my admonitions & so I dare say you will, & make this indeed a Happy New Year to us. Oh[35] how my heart yearns to embrace you! If you ever swerve from virtue Jemie or learn to think lightly of vice you will break it. Remember we must strive to enter in at the straight gate[36]. To encourage you to be a good boy I [...] [m]ust tell you we trust you, that we believe you do [...] [try]! Your letters are next to seeing you. Write often, fully & freely to your anxious & loving Mother

AMW


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Notes:

1.  Anna Matilda Whistler
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

2.  London
JW remained in his step-sister's London house for a while after the Christmas holidays (see below).

3.  fathers
George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), engineer, JW's father [more].

4.  Jemie
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more].

5.  Willie
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

6.  Sis
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

7.  Maasnitza
Russian holiday before Great Lent. In 1849 Great Lent according to the Orthodox Ecclesiastical Calendar began on 26 February. See N. Dershowitz and E. M. Reingold, Calendrical Calculations, Cambridge, 1997.

8.  Academy
See AMW to JW, 4 and 5 December 1848, #06374. AMW's residence in St Petersburg was situated across the river from the Academy of Fine Arts.

9.  the river
Neva River in Leningrad oblast (province), northwestern Russia. The river issues from Lake Ladoga at Shlisselburg and flows 46 miles (74 km) west to the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea.

10.  Mrs Morgan
Elizabeth Morgan, wife of Steven Morgan.

11.  Manége
Russ. and Fr., arena where horses are kept and trained.

12.  Mrs Ropes
Ellen Harriet Ropes, née Hall, wife of William H. Ropes.

13.  Aunty Louisa and Willie
Louisa Ropes, sister of W. H. Ropes, and her nephew, William Ropes, Jr.

14.  Miss MacMaster
Miss MacMaster, probably a governess at St Petersburg.

15.  Helen & Kathe
Probably relations of the Ropes family.

16.  two Woods
William Wood, son of C. and L. Wood, of St Petersburg, and another not identified.

17.  Handysides
The family of James Ronaldson Handyside, of St Petersburg.

18.  Cholera times
See AMW to JW, 26 September 1848, #06365.

19.  Charlie E & Hen H
Charles James Eastwick (1836-1908), son of L. A. and A. M. Eastwick [more], and William Henry Harrison (b. 1837), son of S. and J. Harrison.

20.  their Sisters
Margaret Eastwick (1840-1862), and Maria James Eastwick (1842-1926), daughters of Andrew M. and Lydia A. Eastwick; Annie Harrison (1839-1915), daughter of S. and J. Harrison [more].

21.  their parents
Lydia Anne Eastwick (1810-1890), née James, and her husband Andrew McCalla Eastwick (1810-1879), partner in Eastwick and Harrison, locomotive manufacturers, and later in Harrison, Winans and Eastwick [more]. Sarah Harrison (1817-1906), née Poulterer, and her husband Joseph Harrison (1810-1874), jr, partner in Eastwick and Harrison, locomotive manufacturers, and later in Harrison, Winans and Eastwick [more]. Harrison and Eastwick were both partners in the firm of Eastwick and Harrison, locomotive manufacturers in Philadelphia, and later in the firm of Harrison, Winans and Eastwick on the St Petersburg to Moscow Railroad.

22.  Alexandroffsky
See AMW to JW, 15, 16 and 18 September 1848, #06363.

23.  Mr Ellerbys
Rev. Thomas Ellerby, clergyman, in charge of the British and American Chapel at St Petersburg.

24.  Vanderfleet
Vanderfleet, William McNeill Whistler's classmate at Baxters, St Petersburg.

25.  Phil
Philip Garrett Eastwick (1838-1905), son of L. A. and A. M. Eastwick [more].

26.  baby
Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937), later Mrs Charles Thynne, JW's niece [more].

27.  Seymour
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].

28.  Mrs Smith
Mary Smith, wife of Tom Smith, engineer.

29.  Mrs Merriellees
Jane Mirrielees (1810-1875), née Muir, wife of A. Mirrielees [more].

30.  Mr & Mrs Phillips
James Phillips and his wife.

31.  Anna Maria
Anna Maria Phillips, daughter of James Phillips.

32.  Mr Fairbanks
Fairbanks, a merchant.

33.  Mrs Haden
Probably Emma Haden, née Harrison, mother of JW's brother-in-law, F. S. Haden.

34.  dear sisters
Alicia Margaret Caroline McNeill (1786-1863), JW's aunt [more], and Eliza Isabella Winstanley (1788-1857), née McNeill, JW's aunt, AMW's half-sister [more].

35.  Oh
'Oh ... gate' continues in the left upper margins of p. 1; 'To ... AMW' continues in the right margin of p. 1.

36.  we must strive to enter in at the straight gate
'Enter ye in at the straight gate: for.' Matt. 7.13; see AMW to JW, 8 and 9 January 1849, 11 July 1855, and 1 August 1858, #06381, #06463, #06498.