The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06995
Date: 6, 10 May [1867][1]
Author: William McNeill Whistler[2]
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: JW
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W984
Document Type: ALS[3]


Monday May 6th

Dear Jim -

I sent you yesterday the letters[4] I had recieved [sic] for you from Sis[5] - & Rossetti[6] - In the afternoon I went out to the Pére La Chaise[7] & found everything done as we had ordered - If the cross had not been on the grave, we should never have found it - so many have been buried around poor Traer[8] since then - The same man put a [p. 2] wooden railing around the grave - of blackened wood like the cross - so that it looks neater now - Poor old Traer, you must miss him more than ever now that you are back in London - I enclose you the copy of the letter[9] I have sent his sister[10] today - You'd better send her the number - You see I have told her nothing of the brutal way in which the poor boy was buried - I thought it was better not -

I send you a copy of the [p. 3] letter I posted to Sis -

What do you think of the proposition for you to keep out[11] of London, on account of Seymour Haden[12] & Legros[13] - Its pretty cool isn't it?

Do write us all the news - the weather here is lovely - like June - only a little too hot - I think you'd better write mother[14] -

Love from Lilly[15] & myself to both of you -

Willy -

You've got such a collection [p. 4] of letters you'd better burn mine -

May 10th

Just after writing you this I recieved [sic] my letter[16] to Sis, back again - the sentences underlined & marked "lie" are by Seymour's work - Mind & don't go near him - If you attend to this - you'll ruin my plans - I have him now & want things left in my hands - You see he writes a falsehood[17] about the burial - I wrote immediately to the Revd Edwd Forbes[18] - clergyman of the English church here - about it & send you a copy of his answer[19] - the original I hold & want nothing better - I also [... text breaks off]

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1.  6, 10 May [1867]
Year date from reference to James Reeves Traer (see note below).

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

3.  ALS
Written on narrow bordered mourning paper.

4.  letters
Probably D. G. Rossetti to JW, #05241 and D. D. Haden to JW, #01915, #01916, #01918.

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

6.  Rossetti
Probably Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), artist and poet [more].

7.  Pére La Chaise
The municipal cemetery on the boulevard Ménilmontant, Paris.

8.  Traer
James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more]. In April 1867 Traer died suddenly, reputedly in a brothel, of alcohol related causes (see document signed A. Brierre de Boismont, #11801). Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], arranged for Traer's burial in what JW and his brother William regarded as a disrespectful and perfunctory manner. On 26 April, a row blew up between the brothers-in-law in a Paris café and Haden fell (or allegedly was pushed by JW) through a plate glass window. Soon afterwards, JW and William made arrangements to have Traer's body returned to Traer's sister (see note below) in England, assisted by George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909), art dealer in Paris [more] (see G. A. Lucas to W. G. Whistler, #02654) and a list of subscribers.

9.  letter

10.  sister
Ellen Traer (b. ca 1837), J. R. Traer's sister [more].

11.  keep out
See D. D. Haden to JW, #01918. Deborah Haden wrote to JW that his conduct in relation to F. S. Haden and Alphonse Legros (see note below) was 'creating such an impression that as one who has yr interest still at heart I would advise you not to return to London.'

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

13.  Legros
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 after a row which came to blows. 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) and about Legros' marriage during the same period. See also JW to D. G. Rossetti, #05242.

14.  mother
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

15.  Lilly
Possibly Lilly, an acquaintance of JW in Paris.

16.  my letter
See W. G. Whistler's letter from Paris to D. D. Haden, #06994.

17.  falsehood
See W. G. Whistler to D. D. Haden, #06994. F. S. Haden seems to have annotated the beginning of the letter: 'No protestant service allowed in a catholic burying ground.'

18.  Edwd Forbes
Rev. Edward Forbes (1817-1882), Chaplain of the English church in Paris [more]. See W. G. Whistler's letter to Rev. E. Forbes, #06996.

19.  answer
See Rev. E. Forbes to W. G. Whistler, #01435.