UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Haden, Deborah Delano
Record 13 of 259

System Number: 06391
Date: 17 September 1848 and 16 April 1849
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1] and George Washington Whistler[2]
Place: St Petersburg
Recipient: JW
Place: [London[3]]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W387
Document Type: ALS


St[4] Petersburg

Sept 17/29th 1848

My own dear James[5]

No. 1.

Monday afternoon April 16th

This scrap found among your revered father's papers will seem sacred to you now my own dear James. You see it was to have been the opening of his correspondence with you on my return to him last autumn, for its date is two days after my birth day & I was by his side happy then! And should I be otherwise now because he has been taken from an earthly to a heavenly home[6]

Oh Jemie this home is so desolate without him! I mourn my loss so deeply! & the wound from the sharpest arrow in the quiver of affliction is yet so poignant; that while I bow in submission to God while I feel that the Judge of all the earth must do right - human weakness keeps low. Prayer strengthens me, & the word of God comforts me but this morning I have been only reading my own heart, while writing to Grandmother[7] & to your Uncle McNeill[8], & I sink under the weight of my selfish sorrow;

The compassionate Saviour wept at the tomb of Lazarus & He [p. 2] only can comfort me. He will hear & answer my prayers that this deep affliction may be sanctified to us all! Let us lean in faith upon His promises & help each other on dear Jemie, to be obedient to His laws & thus loving Him we shall at last be a united family, where the trials & sorrow of this life shall be forgotten. But our God is a jealous God & will have our hearts. He is a heart searching God too & tho we may deceive ourselves we cannot deceive Him. Oh may each link He severs in the chain of our family circle be fastened to the skies that our afflictions may centre in that bright & eternal world! Oh the reality of death! so awful, so solemnizing! Let us each strive day by day to live prepared for the coming of God's messenger. Dear Sis[9] & yourself will I think this day learn that you are no more in this life to see the fond father whose visit you have been looking forward to. Turn to God. He is the Father of the fatherless!

May He comfort you is the prayer of your Mother

To dear Jemie


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Notes:

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

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

3.  London
JW is evidently in London.

4.  St
'St ... No. 1' written by George W. Whistler; 'Monday ... Mother' written by AMW; 'To ... Jemie' continues on top of p. 2.

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

6.  taken from an earthly to a heavenly home
George W. Whistler died on 7 April 1849.

7.  Grandmother
Martha McNeill (1775-1852), née Kingsley, mother of AMW [more].

8.  Uncle McNeill
William Gibbs McNeill (1800-1853), railway engineer, AMW's brother [more].

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