UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Barry, Lewellyn-Fite
Record 2 of 2

System Number: 06501
Date: 18 November 1858
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: Philadelphia
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: Whistler W496
Document Type: ALS[2]


1205 Arch St. Phila

Nov 18th 1858

For Jemie[3]

It seems to your mother a long time since she wrote her first born! But as you dearest Jemie indulge in only an annual expression of filial tenderness, perhaps you do not feel her silence as her heart does. How often that thoughtless speech to your Uncle Swift[4] "no one cares what I do" painfully echoes as if mocking of daily, hourly yearning over you. Since the return of that kind relative to Boston he has written me of the intercourse which was mutually interesting to you & his party during their sojourn in Paris. they have always testified a peculiar fondness for you, tho it does not blind them to your defects. Capt Swift was disappointed in you having nothing to shew him of your work. he tries to comfort me by adding he believes you free from vicious pursuits or inclinations. Tho Winans[5] in Balt, George[6] at St P[7], a loving circle in your native land, besides dear Sis & Seymour[8] share the anxiety of your fond Mother, that you should redeem the time from the waste of misapplied talent. How can you think Jemie it is a matter of indifference to me what you do, or what you neglect to do!

[p. 2] One of the most attractive extracts of foreign news in our last week's Church Journal[9] was of the American Episcopal Chapel in Paris, and that Bishop Davis[10], who left South Carolina for his health last spring, had held a confirmation there! Oh how the wish that you had been one among the number enrolled! Why not dear Jemie? surely you must sometimes reflect that God spared you from death last winter to give you time to prepare for it. Since then He has taken one who would probably have tried to pursuade you no longer to delay going into the Ark of Safety. dear Mrs Bergeron[11], I love her memory & how much more must you! to whom she was as a Sister. I often feel now that our own precious Willie[12] has renewed his early vows to God at the communion in the Church, if Jemie had only decided to use the means he might have been [restricted?], and when he became a man, his vows would have released him from the silken fetters of folly. Willie's conscience talks to him now so earnestly his remorse is reproaching him constantly. This no doubt is safe, he is spurred on to redeem his time. Dr J Darrach[13] tells me how encouraged he is that Willie begins now to think for himself & to apply his own mental endowments. the dear fellow is so considerate for me now he is eyes to me & feet, however tired he may feel from the yesterdays race of six lectures, taking notes at them; then the dissecting room after tea till ten oclock. I have only to say Willie I must go to market if you are too tired! he springs out of bed & soon is off basket on his arm, & is so fearful of wasting money he is really more easily satisfied that I should be for him. he is my chaplain in our morning family prayers & [p. 3] comes to my room (adjoining his) after his chat with Dr J D on his return from the Dissecting room, regularly to read the Bible to me. I pursuaded him yesterday afternoon to accept Charlie Eastwick's[14] invite to spend Thanksgiving at Bartram Hall[15], he deplored leaving me alone, but I said truthfully I should enjoy his being in the country among youthful companions in the country more than even having him all day with me, I said too I should write to you & to Sis, so his love was left to be enclosed. The weather is bright & clear, we have had jack frost a few days since, then a flurry of snow which cleared off into "just cold enough to be pleasant." Joe Eastwick[16] has a nice Kate[17] for a wife to be at Bartram till the spring when they talk of going to housekeeping. Magie & Maria[18] & [sic] pretty & talented girls, at boarding school, conveniently distanced for visiting their home. At Joes wedding & Annie Harrison[19] too we saw them there. Bartram is so much brighter when they are at hand that I urged Willie to join them[.] I met Alicia Harrison[20] at Church this morning in their pew she is not a very attentive God daughter to me! her little brother[21] whispered as we went out the door "Mama has come from Balt & brought Annie to make a visit home, Mr Barry[22] is coming friday." Henry[23] is an oddity! didn't you find him so in Paris? I seldom meet any of the family, the distance is too far for me to walk to Rittenhouse Square often & they have such a rich, fashionable circle now of course they do not invite me. Dr J D picked up a note directed to Willie in our front door entry Wednesday morning, it was not dated, but a general invitation to Willie for every tuesday evening. Henry Harrison's "At Home"[.] his father[24] tries all sorts of expedients to give him domestic habits, a billiard room lately added to the Lordly suite of Saloons! [p. 4] The Picture Gallery[25] is the most attractive to most guests. When may there be one of your pieces Jemie? Write me soon and let me know what you are about. Willie fears you will not come home til you are 28 years old! how difficult to realize you in your 25th.

This day week will be Conn Thanksgiving, Uncle Palmer[26] wishes I could be at the Corner House[27], but Willie does not talk of his own visit there in Summer. he seems to think he cannot have a holiday til he takes his diploma in 1830 [sic]. Jacks[28] writes cheerfully from Missouri, he is industrious & conscientious. Aunt Kate[29] enjoyed three weeks with Willie & me, she was much caressed in our circle, the Darrach family she found so congenial. The Harrisons did not call or invite her tho he came by the day after she left to regret Mrs P had not given them time, Annie's wedding &c had so engaged them! You must not suppose that I am hurt by the indifference of the rich in my circle. I have enough to visit who are equal. Dont let me forget Kate's last pleasant tidings. Donald Fairfax[30] is a Papa again! A son born on the 6th. His post is Brooklyn Navy Yard. His home with Ginie & baby not far from Gdma Cammanns[31]. Oh Jemie dear if you could give me the hope of your industry aiming at coming home to establish yourself! In the mean time if I could think you as well taken care of as Willie is! I should be less sad under my deprivation of your companionship. Mary Brennan[32] asks what news of dear Mr James! She is at her brother James in Springfield for the winter. I have an elderly Mary in her stead as trustworthy as she is slow. But now that fires add to the daily care Dr J D & I have hired a very good colored John[33], to attend to that department & to the door[,] boots &c. Excuse blots made by my pen rolling out of my fingers. My eyes are better but I scarcely use them. Bestow a letter soon on

your widowed mother.

A M W


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Notes:

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

2.  ALS
Embossed paper mark: SUPERFINE / SATIN / CREAM LAID

3.  For Jemie
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more]. 'For Jemie,' written at right-angles to the main text in the top left-hand margin.

4.  Uncle Swift
General Joseph Gardner Swift (1783-1865), chief engineer of the US Army, brother-in-law of JW's father [more]. AMW is quoting from an earlier letter; see AMW to JW, 1 August 1858, #06498.

5.  Tho Winans
Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more].

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

7.  St P
St Petersburg, where George William Whistler worked for the firm of Harrison, Winans and Eastwick from 1856-1869; see AMW to JW, 23 March 1858, #06495.

8.  Sis & Seymour
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more], and her husband Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].

9.  Church Journal
Unidentified.

10.  Bishop Davis
Bishop Thomas Frederick Davis (1804-1871), clergyman [more].

11.  Bergeron
Emma Bergeron (d. 1858), née Haden, sister of JW's brother-in-law, F. S. Haden [more].

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

13.  Dr J Darrach
James Darrach (1828-1869), physician in Philadelphia [more]; also referred to as 'Dr J D,' taught William McNeill Whistler for a year in Philadelphia, beginning in May 1857.

14.  Charlie Eastwick's
Charles James Eastwick (1836-1908), son of L. A. and A. M. Eastwick [more].

15.  Bartram Hall
Bartram Hall was the residence of Andrew McCalla Eastwick (1810-1879), partner in Eastwick and Harrison, locomotive manufacturers, and later in Harrison, Winans and Eastwick [more]; see AMW to JW, 15 and 16 January 1852, #06409.

16.  Joe Eastwick
Joseph Harrison ('Hass') Eastwick (1834-1917), son of L. A. and A. M. Eastwick [more].

17.  Kate
Catherine ('Kate') Eastwick (m. 1858), née Trimble, wife of J. H. Eastwick [more].

18.  Magie & Maria
Margaret Eastwick (1840-1862), and Maria James Eastwick (1842-1926), daughters of A. M. and L. A. Eastwick.

19.  Annie Harrison
Annie Harrison (1839-1915), daughter of S. and J. Harrison [more].

20.  Alicia Harrison
Alicia McNeill Harrison (b. 1845), daughter of S. and J. Harrison [more].

21.  brother
Probably Theodore Leland Harrison (b. 1849), son of S. and J. Harrison [more].

22.  Mr Barry
Lewellyn-Fite Barry (1826-1914), husband of Annie Harrison.

23.  Henry
William Henry Harrison (b. 1837), son of S. and J. Harrison.

24.  father
Joseph Harrison (1810-1874), jr, partner in Eastwick and Harrison, locomotive manufacturers, and later in Harrison, Winans and Eastwick [more]

25.  Picture Gallery
Joseph Harrison was a great art collector and active in promoting public interest in art; see AMW to James H. Gamble, October 1858, #06478.

26.  Palmer
Dr George E. Palmer (1803-1868), physician, AMW's brother-in-law [more].

27.  Corner House
The house owned by Dr George E. Palmer, built in 1787, situated in the corner of Main and Wall Streets at Stonington, CT.

28.  Jacks
Patrick T. Jackson ('Jacks') McNeill (1835-1898), accountant, JW's cousin [more].

29.  Aunt Kate
Catherine ('Kate') Jane Palmer (ca 1812 - d.1877), née McNeill, AMW's sister [more].

30.  Donald Fairfax
Donald McNeill Fairfax (1821-1894), naval officer, JW's cousin [more]. On 6 October 1858, Donald's wife, Virginia Carry ('Ginnie') Fairfax, née Rayland, gave birth to William McNeill Fairfax.

31.  Cammanns
Maria Margaretta Cammann ('Grandma C') (1774-1862), mother-in-law of William Gibbs McNeill [more].

32.  Mary Brennan
Mary Brennan (b. 1825), AMW's servant [more], and her brother James Brennan.

33.  John
John, servant at Philadelphia.