The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 00410
Date: 19 November 1895
Author: Charles H. E. Brookfield[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Lyme Regis]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler B187
Document Type: ALS


[embossed:] BEEFSTEAK CLUB.

Nov. 19th / 95

My dear Jimmy,

I am sincerely sorry that you should have been annoyed at some rumour of an incident in our burlesque of 'Trilby' - The only person who might consider himself to be 'lampooned' in the burlesque is Du Maurier[2]: since there is the character of a cockney artist called Durier who runs throughout the play piece [p. 2] who is supposed to be the author of the play & who is living in Paris to taste the pleasures of Bohemian life. In a supper scene, towards the end of the skit, while Durier is entertaining his friends a 'stranger' entered (his name was not mentioned) - a young man in evening dress, with a dark wig - with a white lock - & a moustache - & an [p. 3] eye-glass - intended certainly to emblify my dear old friend Jimmy Whistler - He looked at the company & exclaimed "Amazing!" Upon which Durier was overwhelmed with consternation, rushed at the new-comer & altered his appearance by removing his wig, moustache &c - & he became a different person. The whole incident took less than a minute & has now been permanently [p. 4] eliminated - It would never have been introduced had I dreamed that it could cause you any feeling but one of amusement.

Believe me my dear Jimmy
Yrs very sincerely

Charles H E Brookfield

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1.  Charles H. E. Brookfield
Charles Hallam Elton Brookfield (1857-1913), actor and playwright [more]. The burlesque 'A Model Trilby; or, a Day or Two after Du Maurier,' an adaptation of George Du Maurier's novel Trilby by Brookfield and William Yardley, which opened at the Opera Comique on 16 November 1895. The novel was a tale of bohemian life in Paris (Du Maurier, George, Trilby: A Novel, New York, 1894) . It was published initially in serial parts in Harper's Magazine from January 1894. JW's indigation stemmed from Du Maurier's portrayal of himself in the character of Joe Sibley, the 'Idle Apprentice', in the March issue. The publishers subsequently apologised and Du Maurier toned down the references to JW.

2.  Du Maurier
George Louis Palmella Busson Du Maurier (1834-1896), author and caricaturist [more]. Du Maurier, George, 'Trilby,' Harper's New Monthly Magazine, serialised, begun 1 January 1894; reprinted (expunged) as Trilby: A Novel, New York, 1894; regular ed., London and New York, 1895, had contained drawings of JW as the 'Idle Apprentice' that offended JW, and he forced Du Maurier to remove them from later publications of the book.