System Number: 05241
Date: [2 May 1867]
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler R137
Document Type: ALS
[embossed mark:] 'EXTRA / SUPER'
16 Cheyne Walk
My dear Jemmy
The news of poor good Traer's death came to me first through your letter, and as you may suppose has not been out of my mind since - It is terrible and painful news indeed. I must have been about the last person to see him in London [p. 2] as I happened to call on him with Fanny, who was unwell, the morning of the day he left. He then struck me as seeming somewhat altered in appearance & anxious though still hearty in manner. Poor fellow, - what a terrible end for so genial and true a nature - away from all friends. Few men have impressed me on so short a knowledge as so well deserving [p. 3] love and sympathy, or so full of these themselves.
The other event recorded in your letter, I do not, as you rightly imagine, regret on
any one's Haden's account but your own - But, on that side, even apart from my general feeling on such matters of which I have said enough already, I cannot but deplore that your indignation, though I believe it was just, has led you to do what must [p. 4] cause so much pain to others besides the offender, and certainly to yourself as feeling with them eventually.
Though the present matter is not, as the former one, between 2 men both of whose friendship I value, I cannot but deplore that you did not restrain yourself under all the circumstances involved.
I trust shortly to see you again in London. Is not reconciliation between yourself & Legros still possible?
D G Rossetti
1. [2 May 1867]
Dated from references to J. R. Traer, A. Legros and F. S. Haden (see below).
2. Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), artist and poet [more]. See Doughty, Oswald and John Robert Wahl, Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 4 vols., Oxford, 1965-67; and The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti 3, ed. William E. Fredeman. Woodbridge, Suffolk: D. S. Brewer, vol. 1, 2003, letter 67.63.
In another hand, in pencil.
James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more]. In late April 1867, Traer died suddenly in Paris of alcohol related causes (see document signed A. Brierre de Boismont, 27 April 1867, #11801).
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more]. Haden arranged for Traer's burial in Paris in what JW and his brother William regarded as a disrespectful and perfunctory manner. The 'event' referred to by Rossetti was the ensuing row between the brothers-in-law on 26 April when Haden fell (or allegedly was pushed by JW) through a plate glass window in a Paris café. Soon afterwards, JW and William made arrangements to have Traer's body returned to his sister in England, assisted by George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more] (see G. A. Lucas to W. G. Whistler, 14 June 1867, #02654).
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more], was greatly upset by the rift between Haden and his brothers-in-law and tried to intervene (see D. D. Haden to JW, 27 April 1867, #01915, to W. G. Whistler, [4 May 1867?], #01914, and to JW and W. G. Whistler, 30 April 1867, #01916). Later George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more], also intervened, to no avail (see G. Wm. Whistler to F. S. Haden, 26 February 1868, #06681).
8. former one
A reference to JW's recent quarrel with Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more]. JW first met Legros in Paris during the late 1850s and together with Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), artist [more], they formed the Société des Trois. However by late April 1867, their friendship was over, and they had a row that came to blows. JW's friends tried to intervene but the two were never reconciled (see JW to L. Ionides, 22 April 1867, #11312). The reasons for their quarrel are unclear but they seem to have had a quarrel over Legros' marriage and a protracted dispute about money dating back to 1864 (see Ionides, Luke, Memories, Paris, 1925, p. 74; JW to A. Legros, 13 August 1864, #02505; JW to D. G. Rossetti, 20 April 1867, #05242).
10. Affectionately ... Rossetti
Written at right-angles in left-hand margin.