The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 01915
Date: 27 April [1867][1]
Author: Deborah Delano Haden[2]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler H16
Document Type: ALS

April 27th

[embossed monogram:] 'D D H'


My dear Jem

I am horrified at what I hear this morning - What do these brutal assaults[4] of yours mean - first upon one[5] & then upon another[6] - and that for my sake you could not have abstained from this last seems to me to show that you wish to break with me as well [p. 2] as with him - Surely you can not know what you are doing at these moments - and that you & Willie[7] - ignorant of all the wrong that Traer[8] has done to Seymour[9] & not even waiting to know it should take the part of a wretched drunkard against him is inconceivable. Seymr. has for the last year put up with more than most people would [p. 3] have done from a partner who has [been] ruining & disgracing him[.] He offered him an amicable separation upon what were considered by good judges generous & liberal terms. Traer ignored every thing & for six weeks had absented himself entirely. We heard indirectly that he had gone to Paris & then that he was dead - & when Seymr. goes over in the greatest kindness to do what he can for the wife[10] who has no one to look to for help [p. 4] you & Willie receive him in this way!

I cannot say how what I think & feel about it or rather I am afraid to say what I think & what others must think about such conduct. For Heavens' sake my dear Jem stop while there is time or you will die Traers' death - I am utterly miserable about it -


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1.  27 April [1867]
Dated from day of week, D. D. Haden to JW, #01916, and references to F. S. Haden and J. R. Traer (see notes below).

2.  Deborah Delano Haden
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

This address is embossed.

4.  assaults
A recent row between JW and Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], had come to blows in a Paris café. It concerned Haden's treatment of James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more], who had died suddenly on a trip to Paris, allegedly in a brothel. Haden arranged for Traer's burial, with what JW and his brother William regarded as unseemly haste. Haden later claimed that in the heat of a confrontation between the brothers-in-law, JW pushed him through a plate glass window. The affair caused a permanent family rift, despite the intervention of Deborah Haden and George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more] (see G. Wm. Whistler to F. S. Haden, #06681).

5.  one
This is probably a reference to a row between JW and Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more], in April 1867, which also came to blows. JW had known Legros since his student days in Paris during the late 1850s when, together with Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), artist [more], they formed the Société des Trois. JW's friends tried to intervene (see JW to L. Ionides, #11312) but the two men were never reconciled. The reasons for their quarrel are unclear but they seem to have had a protracted dispute about money dating back to 1864 (see Ionides, Memories, 1996 edtn., p. 74 and JW to A. Legros, #02505). See also JW to D. G. Rossetti, #05242.

6.  another
A reference to JW's row with Francis Seymour Haden.

7.  Willie
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

8.  Traer
James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more].

9.  Seymour
That is, Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].

10.  wife
Louisa Jane Holloway Traer (b. ca 1839, m. 1856), née Savage, wife of James R. Traer [more].