Documents associated with: Gentle Art (Ford)
Record 2 of 114
A FEW PAGES OF CLEVER PROSE
Excellent and impartial Truth!
Mr Whistler has misled you.
My article in the New York Sun (Dec. 5, and not Dec. 12, as you state) is entitled 'Mr Whistler's Ten o'Clock,' and deals exclusively with the paradoxes and theories of Whistler, the preacher, the lecturer, and the wit.
In the introductory lines, I took care to place Whistler, the admirable painter and the marvellous etcher, on a lofty pedestal of respect and admiration, before proceeding to criticise his few pages of clever prose, which will certainly not carry down to posterity the name of the painter of the portraits of Carlyle and of Sarasate.
Mr Whistler labours under a delusion if he imagines that he is swaggering about London with my 'scalp' on the end of his slender wand.
On the contrary, I have a suspicion that it is only the damaged state of his own 'scalp' which causes him to adjourn so long, if not indefinitely, his promised evangelising trip to America.
I enclose you the text of the incriminated [p. 2] article so that you may judge for yourself whether my criticism is not worthy of a more witty reply than Mr Whistler's re-hash and misapplication of a threadbare anecdote borrowed from the Christian épopée.
Truth, Jan. 20, 1887
1. [15 December 1886]
This letter was dated 'Paris, December 15, 1886' when published in Truth on 20 January 1887.
This transcription is as published in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, ed. Sheridan Ford, Paris, 1890, pp. 151-52.
7. trip to America.
JW's planned lecture tour was postponed and then abandoned.