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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Drenthe, 11 and 12 September 1883

Hoogeveen, Tuesday evening

Dear Theo,

I have just arrived here.

From the train I saw some beautiful bits of the Veluwe, but everything was dark by the time we arrived in these parts. So I do not know much about it yet. I am sitting in a large inn-parlour, like those in Brabant, where a woman is sitting peeling potatoes, rather a pretty little figure.

I have been talking to the people here, and one of these days I shall go by barge down the whole Hoogeveen canal, through the peat fields, straight across the southeastern corner of Drenthe.

From here to the north there seems to be a beautiful heath right up to Assen. You can imagine I am rather curious to see it all.

Everything came off well at The Hague. That land surveyor [Furnée] came to say goodbye at the station.

Of course the woman and her children were with me to the last, and when I left, the parting was not very easy.

I have taken only a very few colours with me, but nevertheless some, and I hope to begin the attack soon. The colour of the Veluwe was rich.

I shall wait here for your next letter. I am staying at a village inn quite near the station.

The address is: A. Hartsuiker, Innkeeper, Hoogeveen.

Later I may go farther into the heart of the country, but I must wait till I have some stock of colours.

I shall write more soon; for the moment I've seen nothing but what I tell you, the scene through the carriage window and the barroom here, which is nothing special.

I only want to tell you I am here.

Goodbye, tomorrow I am going out investigating. A handshake,

Yours sincerely, Vincent

When you receive this, be so kind as to mail a postcard at once to see whether it reaches me all right. I got up very early this morning because I was rather curious. The weather is splendid, the air is clear and bracing, as in Brabant. Here at the inn I saw a stable fitted up differently from those in Brabant. Perhaps I shall make something of it someday, at least if I stay here.

Well, the country around here is for the greater part meadowland, with little trees here and there. I think I did well to choose Hoogeveen as my starting point. At least it is rather curious that I already heard, on the very first evening, how I can travel through the whole peat district, as far as the Prussian frontier and the Black Lake on the barges. I shall soon write you more about it than I can today. As soon as I have more colours, I shall begin that excursion and will go from one village to another.

But my address will still be here, and I shall leave my things here even if I am absent for some time and do not know exactly where I shall be.

I have arranged to pay a guilder a day while I'm here, and I can leave my trunk, etc., in the garret while I'm away. In the village harbour I saw very quaint peat barges, and figures of bargemen's wives dressed as they are here in the hayfield - very picturesque.

Further into the country it will be even more beautiful; but for the present I see very good things even here.

So drop me a line soon at the address: A. Hartsuiker, Innkeeper at Hoogeveen.

The village, or little town, is just a long row of houses along the harbour, many new houses and a few more beautiful old ones.


At this time, Vincent was 30 year old
Source:
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 11 and 12 September 1883 in Drenthe. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 323.
URL: http://webexhibits.org/vangogh/letter/13/323.htm.

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