UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Denny, Caroline
Record 3 of 5

System Number: 06459
Date: 24 April [1855][1]
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[2]
Place: Baltimore
Recipient: JW
Place: [Washington[3]]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W454-55
Document Type: ALS


Alexandroffsky Villa[4]

Tuesday 24th. April

I was at 176[5] dearest Jemie when the Express brought your valise, but for your need of the surtout it had not seemed worth while sending so few peices [sic]. Mary[6] was to take it yesterday afternoon to the Scourer[7] & I must try my ingenuity to repair it when I return home on Thursday. Let a few lines meet me there, to say if I shall send you the valise back later in the week. I trust you will not be elated by Mr Winans invitation[8] for your coming here to paint & so leave Annies portrait[9] unfinished! he asked me at dinner when I returned here after 2 days absence [p. 2] if I had heard from you. I said yes a few lines[10] in your valise to request my repairing a very old Summer Coat & your bulletin of health was you were only too hungry! we then agreed you to be nearly starved out & he said he had heard from you[11] & had written to advise your coming to his house to exercise your talent, if you only would work! now I know he will be disappointed if you fly about Balt morn, noon & night as you have been in the habit, he may laugh but he will conclude in his own mind the opinion he formed two years ago was a sad truth "that Jemie would never maintain himself[12]!["] he hopes better of you now, because he would fain shelter you from the criticisms of his father[13]. [p. 3] Now Jemie pay every cent you owe to landlady, grocer & all but first send me your tailors[14] receipt to file. dont be tempted to order a new vest & new trowsers [sic] till you earn them here. Tho Winans will be better satisfied if you come here in your old clothes, he is an observer, he wishes to help you, dont dash to destruction! I wish you had packed carefully in the valise which came yesterday the case of the knife &c, while you think of it now put it up, that in your hurry at last it be not forgotten or thrown carelessly in & be defaced.

I value it from association & so will you by & by. for my care of it. when I am gone. I felt so feeble thro my efforts at home, there I realize my weakness. I had a talk with dear good Don[15], very satisfactory to me. [p. 4] Bills come pouring in & I am helpless, I have been tempted to talk to our host here! but I pray for more faith, knowing every trial is appointed, I depend on the Almighty Disposer of hearts to help me to prove I am not dishonest tho poverty has overtaken me. I feel my winter bonnet! I see my old gown of two summers wear, foxy & thread bare. still I know my respectability does not depend on dress, tho comfort does upon neatness. Nothing begun about packing yet. I expect to be involved in it from 1st of May. Donald & Ginnie[16] will be off probably by then. he talked of going to Washington for a day. do have the Case nicely put up & walk with him to the depot with it & ask the favor of his taking it home, of course he will call at the Denny's[17]. My[18] love to Annie. keep calm, finish her portrait, but seek no orders!

[p. 5][19] Tho Winans will be in N Y the first of next week. as you are to be his guest, you had best be welcomed under his roof by him personally. you might write, for an answer, this day week to arrange your vacating Mrs Kings[20] room. 1st of May. You must give her notice that she may secure another lodger. Ask her to have your mattrass [sic] & all that belongs to George[21] put up for you securely in one package & direct it to his house in Hollins St[22]. per R[ail] R[oad] - as it went.[23] I think they will all be back early next week. Thos W. is only going on for Monday to hear LaTrobes[24] winding up speech. Write him your acknowledgements and[25] advise with him when & how to order your papers, he has not told me of pecuniary aid.


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Notes:

1.  24 April [1855]
Dated with reference to the Perpetual Calendar Whitaker's Almanac, and to AMW's previous letters to JW of 17 and 19 April 1855 (#06456, #06458).

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

3.  Washington
JW was still in Washington where he was painting the portrait of Anna Harding Denny (see below); see AMW to JW, 19 April 1855, #06458.

4.  Alexandroffsky Villa
The Baltimore villa of Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more]; see AMW to JW, 15, 16 and 18 September 1848, #06363.

5.  176
176 Preston Street, Baltimore was the address of Donald McNeill Fairfax (1821-1894), naval officer, JW's cousin [more]; see AMW to JW, 26 and 27 November 1854, #06446.

6.  Mary
Mary Brennan (b. 1825), AMW's servant [more].

7.  Scourer
Alternative word for laundress or cleaner.

8.  Winans invitation
Thomas De Kay Winans invited JW to work in his studio at Alexandroffsky; see Thomas D. Winans to JW, 24 April 1855, #07077.

9.  Annies portrait
Anna ('Annie') Harding Denny (1834 or 1838-1913), a cousin of JW, later Mrs Corcoran [more].

10.  lines
JW's note to AMW has not survived.

11.  he had heard from you
JW's letter to Thomas De Kay Winans has not been traced.

12.  that Jemie would never maintain himself
See AMW to JW, 16 November 1853, #06430.

13.  father
Ross Winans (1796-1877), locomotive manufacturer, father of JW's sister-in-law [more].

14.  tailor
The tailor's bill had been outstanding for some time; see AMW to JW, 28 February 1855, #06453.

15.  Don
Donald McNeill Fairfax (1821-1894), naval officer, JW's cousin [more].

16.  Ginnie
Virginia ('Ginnie') Carry Fairfax (d. 1878), née Ragland, wife of D. McN. Fairfax [more]. AMW did not get on well with Ginnie; see AMW to JW, 1 January 1855, #06448, 21 [March 1855], #06455, and 17 April 1855, #06456.

17.  Denny's
The family of St Clair Denny (1800-1858), army paymaster in Washington, DC [more].

18.  My
'My ... orders' continues in the right margin of p. 1.

19.  [p. 5]
This page is classified as GUL Whistler W455.

20.  Mrs Kings
Mrs King, JW's landlady in Washington, DC.

21.  George
George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more].

22.  Hollins St
The Alexandroffsky Villa was in Hollins Street, which runs along the north side of Union Square, Baltimore. George William Whistler must have moved in with the Winans, after his marriage to Julia De Kay Winans in the Spring of 1854; see AMW to JW, 26 and 26 November 1854, #06446.

23.  as it went
AMW sent a portable mattress to JW in October 1852; see AMW to JW, 6 October 1852, #06421.

24.  LaTrobe
John Hazlehurst Boneval Latrobe (1803-1891), lawyer, counsel for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad [more]. His argument in the case of Ross Winans v. New York and Harlem Railroad Company was presented in the District Court of the USA for the Southern district of New York on 1 and 2 May 1855; see John Hazlehurst Boneval Latrobe, Argument delivered May 1 and 2 in Case of Ross Winans v. New York and Harlem Railroad Company in the District Court of the US for the Southern District of New York before a jury, Hon. Samuel R. Betts District Judge, Baltimore, 1855.

25.  and
'and ... your' continues in the left margin; 'papers ... aid' continues in the right margin.