System Number: 05243
Date: 24 April 
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler R139
Document Type: ALS
16 Cheyne Walk
My dear Whistler
At the risk of my handwriting being cast at once into the sacrificial flames by which you feel yourself surrounded, I must write a word or two further in explanation -
I was led to understand distinctly that I received from yourself a certain request, - otherwise I should assuredly not have volunteered any written opinion on your affairs; and moreover am quite ready to admit that, in the absence of such supposed incentive, I might by doing so have justly been considered intrusive. Indeed so sensible was I of this, [p. 2] that I sent my first letter to post through Luke Ionides, in order that it might reach you only if he was quite certain of his own impression as to your message to me -
I must also now admit that the exact words you give, "Ce n'est pas vrai", seem to me also to be inevitably the precursors of blows, and only to be spoken, if at all, by one prepared for them; but when I wrote, I had not heard that such words had been used.
You say to me: - "I like [p. 3] not to believe your friendship so weak in faith as to receive with readiness an evil impression of the absent friend, or listen at all to aspersions cast on him." I am not surprised at your unwillingness to believe this, as such belief would be inconsistent with your impressions of my conduct formerly expressed to me when I have had any opportunity of remembering you in absence. In this case, (a friend of your own being my only reporter,) no "aspersions" had reached my ears; which is not the only cause, as your knowledge of me might suggest, which could prevent me from eagerly accepting such. [p. 4] Thus much as to a correspondence, which I should never have originated advisedly, though it appears I did so through a misconception not my own.
Believe me, dear Whistler,
D G Rossetti
re - Legros,'
[p. 5] 'Undated.
J. M. W'
'Whistler's letter to Rossetti & R's reply re the incident in Luke Ionides's office when J McN. W. t[h]rashed Legros[.] Also J. McN. W. to William Rossetti on his failure to attend the late Gabriel R's unveiling[.] Ingratitude was Legros failing
R. B. P.'
This document is protected by copyright.
1. 24 April 
This is a reply to JW's letter to Rossetti (draft, 20 April , #05242). Published in The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, ed. William E. Fredeman. Woodbridge, Suffolk: D. S. Brewer, 2003, vol. 1, 67.56.
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).
3. sacrificial flames
JW had first met Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more], in Paris during the late 1850s. Together with Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), artist [more], they formed the Société des Trois. However by April 1867, their friendship was over and they had a row which came to blows. JW's friends tried to intervene but the two men were never reconciled (JW to L. Ionides, 22 April 1867, #11312). The immediate reasons for their quarrel are unclear but there had been some argument over Legros' marriage and a protracted dispute about money dating back to 1864 (see Ionides, Luke Memories, Paris, 1925, reprinted with an afterword by Julia Ionides, Ludlow, 1996, p. 74; JW to A. Legros, 13 August 1864, #02505; and JW to D. G. Rossetti, op. cit., #05242).
4. Luke Ionides
Lucas ('Luke') Alexander Ionides (1837-1924), stockbroker and businessman [more].
5. Ce n'est pas vrai
Fr., 'That is not true.' Rossetti is quoting from JW's previous letter (draft, #05242).
6. I like not to believe ... on him
Quoted from JW's letter (draft, #05242).
'Rossetti ... Legros' added in another hand.
8. William Rossetti
She is referring to the letter from William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919), civil servant and critic [more], to JW, 21 July 1887 (#05250).
This is a separate sheet, accompanying the letter. 'Whistler's letter ... R. B. P.' was written and signed by Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more], with 'Ingratitude ... R. B. P.' at right-angles in the left-hand margin. 'Undated J. M. W' was added in an unknown hand at a later date.