The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 13461
Date: [4 January 1889][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Committee of the Hogarth Club[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler H243
Document Type: PLc[3]

Gentlemen —

I have the honor to express to you my deep regret for an incident that happened last evening in the Hogarth Club rooms.

Mr. Stott[4], a newly elected member of the club, entered the club rooms about midnight, walked straight up to me, and, without one word of explanation, addressed me in these terms: -

'You are a liar and a coward!'

We were quite alone in the room, with the exception of Mr. John Reid[5], who witnessed all that then took place.

I immediately rose from my seat and slapped his face.

This act, I assure you, gentlemen, was a spontaneous act, and the inevitable consequence of this gross insult.

It is also my painful duty to add that this first slap in the face was followed by another slap in the face.

I also regret to add that this painful incident terminated with a kick applied by me to a portion of Mr. Stott's person that he had finally turned towards me, and which I leave to you, gentlemen, to divine.

I then resumed my conversation with Mr. Reid and was not afterwards interrupted by Mr. Stott, of Oldham.

I consider it to be my duty, gentlemen, to bring these facts to your knowledge; and certain of your sympathy in reference to my unpremeditated conduct that was imposed upon me.

I earnestly beg you to take steps to prevent a recurrence of such an unbearable provocation and monstrous insult.

I have the honor to remain, your most obedient servant,

(Signed) "WHISTLER."

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1.  [4 January 1889]
There are several copies of this letter, two dated 4 January 1889 (#02140 and #02142).

2.  Committee, Hogarth Club
The quarrel occurred in the rooms of this club for artists and amateurs.

3.  PLc
The letter appeared in this form in the New York Herald (Paris edition), 10 January 1889, and in L'Indépendance Belge on the same date; see Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, ed. Sheridan Ford, Paris, 1890, pp. 179-80, and Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, B. 55. The other copies show minor variations such as 'I beg' instead of 'I have the honor', and punctuation.

4.  Mr. Stott
William Stott of Oldham (1857-1900), genre and landscape painter [more]. The quarrel concerned Mary Maud Franklin (1857- ca 1941), JW's model and mistress [more].

5.  Mr. John Reid
John Robertson Reid (1851-1926), genre, landscape and marine painter [more].