Documents associated with: Henley, William Ernest
Record 13 of 50
System Number: 04252
Date: 30 May 1891
Author: William Ernest Henley
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler N9
Document Type: ALS
30 / 5 / 91
My dear Whistler,
Such letters as this of yours are not to be answered. One reads one rejoices, one is grateful, & there is the end.
But I shall think a little the better of my books (if that be possible) for calling it forth; & a good deal the better (which is easy enough) of myself for having the wit to send them to you.
'Tis rare, I think, for an artist in one medium to be conscious of the possibilities & alive to the effect of other media. But when it happens, then is there Joy beyond the common - I have had much delight in work of yours, [p. 2] & it is a thought to keep by me & to make much of that I have been able to visit your [nerves?] with pleasure in return.
For the rest, remember what I said to you in London. We have been so graceless as to sport with you; but even with the admission & on the understanding that we were dealing, when all was said, with an Artist!
And let us be friends & allies if we may. Next to creation & appreciation,
the la vraie affaire est bien d'écraser l'Infâme - the ignoble Philistine, the bleating imbecile to whom all art is a seven-sealed book; & in that at least I am with you jusqu'aux autels.
Forgive this lapse into French. 'Tis a consequence of Russian influenza, & shall not recur,
Ever Since[re]ly Yours,
W. E. H.
JW had a copy of Henley's book, Views and Reviews: essays in appreciation, London, 1890 (GUL Sp Coll Whistler 57).
'la vraie ... l'Infâme', Fr. (quoting François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778), writer [more]), the true mission is to crush fanaticism; and 'jusqu'aux autels', Fr., right up to the altars.
6. Russian influenza
Both JW and Henley had been victims of the 'flu epidemics.
7. W. E. H.