UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: gift from JW
Record 26 of 45

System Number: 13588
Date: [7 January 1890?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
Call Number: Nouv. Acq. Fr. 15303, f. 184
Document Type: ALS[3]


Cher Robertus -

Vous etes le soleil et la joie! -

Figurez vous qu'içi règnent les ténèbres d'Egyte [sic] -

Seuls, l'étincelle de votre joli bijou, et le rayon de votre ravissante chanson ont pu éclairer pour nous, la nuit profonde qui depuis des jours envelope [sic] Londre [sic] de sa tristesse -

J'ai même du croire que les belles choses que vous me dites sont vraies - ce qui fait que les idiots du voisinage me sont là desus [sic] devenus intolérables! - et j'ai immédiatement livré bataille à ceux qui m'entourent! - Oscar Wilde[4]! -

Le résultat vous saurez bientôt -

Je suis en train, avec Mistress Trixie, qui vous dit mille choses charmantes, de deviser un cadre pour le séduisant poème mignon.

En attendant il repose dans le petit temple où sont gardés, avec religion, le bijou, les papillons, les broderies rouges[5] - et la Rosette bleue!

Présentez je vous prie, mes homages [sic] a la Comtesse[6] - je lui ai envoyé une petite harmonie[7] en Gris et Argent -

Vous l'a-t-elle montré [sic]? -

[butterfly signature]


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

Dear Robertus -

You are sunshine and joy! -

Imagine that here Stygian gloom reigns -

Only, the sparkle of your pretty jewel, and the rays of your ravishing song have been able to lighten, for us, the deep night which for days has enveloped London in its sadness.

I even thought that the good things you told me are true - with the result that the idiots in the neighbourhood have become intolerable about it! - and I immediately declared war on those who surround me Oscar Wilde! -

You will soon know the result -

I am, with Mistress Trixie, who sends you her best wishes, in the course of designing a frame for the charming and sweet poem.

Meanwhile it is resting in the little temple where the jewel, the butterflies, the red ribbons are religiously kept, - and the blue Rosette!

Please give my compliments to the Countess - I have sent her a small harmony in Grey and Silver -

Has she shown it to you?

[butterfly signature]


Notes:

1.  [c. 7 January 1890]
Dated by reference to the poem (#04118) sent by Montesquiou to JW on 6 January. There is a draft of this letter, #04119.

2.  Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac
Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (1855-1921), Symbolist writer and poet, and collector [more].

3.  ALS
Published by Newton, Joy, La Chauve-Souris et le Papillon. Correspondance Montesquiou-Whistler, Glasgow, 1990, no. 26, pp. 63-64. There is a draft of this letter, #04119.

4.  Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more]. In an article in Truth, 2 January 1890, JW accused Wilde of plagiarism (see Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890).

5.  Mistresse Trixie
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].

6.  les broderies rouges
The red rosette of the order of the Légion d'honneur, embroidered by the Comtesse Greffulhe.

7.  Comtesse
Elisabeth, Comtesse Greffulhe (1860-1952), née Riquer de Caraman-Chimay [more].

8.  arrangement
Not identified.