The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Kohler, Mme
Record 11 of 13

System Number: 02441
Date: 3 April 1890
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Mrs George Köhler[1]
Place: [Antwerp]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler K24
Document Type: MsLc


April 3. 1890.


I was quite pained and surprised on reading your letter, at the tone of reproach that it appeared to convey -

Your astonishment that I had not already sent you a cheque for the amount of the Printers bill (minus, of course, what Mr Ford[3] had already paid) I could only explain by supposing that you had already written to me enclosing your bill - which to this day I have not seen! There must [p. 2] therefore clearly be a misunderstanding - When

When I left Antwerp it was agreed between your son[4] & myself, that when this matter is over, I shall receive the account and at once settle it -

I sincerely trust that you have no anxiety upon such point as far as I am concerned[.] Meanwhile the trial is still pending, and although I should willingly forward you a cheque (even if I knew for what sum) I am advised by my lawyers, Messers Lewis & Lewis[5], without whose council I can do nothing [p. 3] that while the affair is before the court, I am certainly to take no action in the matter, that could at all prejudice my case - either with the Juge d'instruction, who might assume that I had bought and payed for the edition, which after all he might see fit to award to the other side - or with yourselves, who might be ordered to give up the books to Mr Ford!

You see at the time we none of us believed in the possibility of a trial - and I altogether doubt still if it will come off - for as it would take place before Tribunal or Police Correctional, the man Ford would run the risk of being locked up - or hanged perhaps in the Market Place -

[p. 4] In any case M. Maeterlinck[6] will tell you that I have paid down money to meet all expenses - and am quite prepared -

In short I dont believe that our Yankee Filibuster will come back to Belgium - notwithstanding his bluster - and directly this is confirmed, I shall beg your son to send me the bill, and he shall have my cheque in return -

In every way therefore you are gurantered [sic] - and this letter is an earnest of my good faith - and an acknowledgment of kind good will throughout -

Believe me Madam, with my best remembrences [sic] to your family, who I hope will feel that I do not as yet merit reproaches -

Very faithfully yours

(Signed) J McN Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Mrs George Köhler
Mme Kohler, widow of Georges Kohler, printer [more].

2.  21, CHEYNE WALK,
JW's address is printed in yellow. The writing on the letter, however, is in an unknown hand, but possibly that of William Bell, JW's secretary [more].

3.  Mr Ford
Sheridan Ford (1860-1922), poet, critic, politician and writer on art [more].

4.  son
Kohler, son of Georges Kohler, printer.

5.  Messers Lewis & Lewis
JW's lawyers, the firm of Sir George Henry Lewis (1833-1911), society lawyer [more].

6.  M. Maeterlinck
Maître Albert Maeterlinck, attorney in Antwerp [more]. He succeeded in suppressing the edition of Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, ed. Sheridan Ford, Paris, 1890 in Antwerp.