The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 01918
Date: 3 May 1867
Author: Deborah Delano Haden[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris][2]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler H19
Document Type: ALS

My dear Jemmie

I think it best to send you back your letter[3] lest it should be in any way supposed by keeping it - that I for a moment sympathise with you in yr late conduct[4]. To my mind - & I fear to the minds of all others - nothing could excuse it. This in addition to the attack upon Le Gros[5] [sic] are creating such an impression that as one who has yr interest still at heart I would advise you not to return to London.

[p. 2] For myself nothing could have wounded me more deeply. You know how I have loved you - love you still - & now by your own act you have put a fatal barrier between us. I do not want to see any letters[6]. I know the past as well as you do - the provocations wh[ich] you have magnified to yourself until you have wreaked yr vengeance in a manner unheard of among gentlemen -

- so unheard of that nothing can explain it away. You cannot live in the world & do these things -

For your own sake keep away - it is useless saying for mine for wherever you were I could not see you after this[7] -


Sloane St

May 3rd

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1.  Deborah Delano Haden
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more]. Deborah wrote a letter in a similar tone to William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more], around this date (see D. D. Haden to W. G. Whistler, #01914).

2.  [Paris]
JW was in Paris (see note below) and had been staying at 5 Cité Bergére (see D. D. Haden to JW, #01916).

3.  letter
Probably a reference to JW to D. D. Haden, #01917.

4.  conduct
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. A violent row took place in a Paris café on 26 April and Haden fell (or allegedly was pushed by JW) 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.  Le Gros
Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more]. This is a reference to the row between JW and Legros 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 to 1864 (see Ionides, Memories, 1996 edtn., p. 74 and JW to A. Legros, #02505). See also JW to D. G. Rossetti, #05242.

6.  letters
Perhaps including a reference to JW to F. S. Haden, #01936.

7.  after this
Relations between the Haden and Whistler families were not entirely broken off. However, F. S. Haden banned JW, his mother and brother from the Haden home at 62 Sloane Street and Deborah was forced to meet with her family in the houses of mutual friends (see A. M. Whistler to D. D. Haden, #06541).