The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Carlyle, Thomas
Record 14 of 28

System Number: 04375
Date: [18 September 1879/1880][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Frederick Greenwood[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P14
Document Type: ALd


To the Editor of the Pall Mall Gazette -

O Sir! -[3]

Have you then really seen him, in what I suppose, even in his case may still must be called, the spirit? Did Arry's[4] ghost drop in at your office and leave you with you copy? - "Fancy that!"

Why not! - I fully believe it - Also the stuff matter itself is very like what it used to be - and quite untouched by the furnace after all - wherein it is more unyeilding [sic] than the gold of the refiner -

Well well! So they wont have him the good people, out there - in the beyond - and he loosened comes back upon his old errands bent - noting and jotting in his auctioneers [...]

Why did he come among us this son of the City - born of a Bank-holiday and a book-keepers ledger? - Present at the winding up of matters after his instincts - buying up as a "lot" and living in the "White house[5]" of his betters - looking upon it as a "lot", deg How he degrading it and defacing it, and leaving the mark of his abomination upon it, as is duly recorded in the Golden book of Chelsea -

So it is that to the history of the noble ones of this Earth, are linked and Arry goes down to in history - to posterity.

Thus is the great ever linked with the little - and continually to the history story of the noble ones of this Earth, is inevitably attached the story tail of the (scullion, clerk- hind or bailiffe [sic]) who takes possession

So are the clowns remembered with their masters - and Carly[l]e[6] tells us that he who sat in the pallace [sic],[7] rising, abruptly rent his breaches nether garments upon the nail in the stool and stood in the presence of the King with the brawn pouring out of his breeches a miserable spectacle to be never to be forgotten in all histories of the time. We have made him in the killing of him, and this is excellent - though the philistine, ever contented to be kicked, provided the kick resound, rejoices,* - for it is right that he should endure in the Archives, an object of derision - a rare example of the indecency, resulting from the attempt to adulterate Art with the shopkeepers culture -

[p. 2, drawings of flowers[8]]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [18 September 1879/1880]
Written either immediately after JW's arrival in Venice or shortly before his departure a year later.

2.  Frederick Greenwood
The recipient may have been Frederick Greenwood (1830-1909), founding editor of the Pall Mall Gazette until 1880, and editor of the St James's Gazette, 1880-1885 [more], or John Morley (1838-1923), Viscount Morley of Blackburn, MP, barrister, editor of the Fortnightly Review from 1867-1880, and the Pall Mall Gazette from 1880-1883 [more], from 1880. No letter by JW was published by this journal in 1880.

3.  O Sir! -
JW altered this sentence to start 'Have you then O Sir!' Extensive deletions and additions both above and on the line, and incomplete sections, suggest that this letter was never completed.

4.  Arry's
Henry ('Arry') Quilter (1851-1907), advocate and art critic [more]. JW's attack on Quilter here is savage and personal, and even if it was completed, it is unlikely the Pall Mall Gazette could have published it. By calling him 'Arry JW suggested that Quilter was an uneducated and uncultured London cockney.

5.  White House
Whistler's house in Tite Street, designed by E. W. Godwin, was completed in 1878. Whistler never forgave Quilter for buying the White House at auction on 18 September 1879 for £2700, and making alterations to it.

6.  Carly[l]e
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), historian and philosopher [more].

7.  he who sat in the pallace [sic],
Quotation not identified.

8.  flowers
Flowers (M.724). The drawing does not seem to have anything to do with the subject of the letter.