My dear Theo,
I have had to pay my bill provisionally, while stipulating
on the receipt that this payment was only made so that I could
regain possession of my belongings, and that the exorbitant
bill will be submitted to the magistrate.
But I have almost nothing left after all this: I bought
things for making the little coffee and soup at home, and two
chairs and a table. That means that I have exactly 15 francs
left. So I beg you to send me some more money, in any case not
later than on your return to Paris.
I feel sure that I'll soon have several new canvases on the
What I'm sending is packed up and will leave today.
Only it is discouraging to work hard and to see one's
subsidy going into the hands of people whom one loathes.
But we'll put a stop to that. I'll make a permanent studio
here, where I can put up another painter if necessary.
Foreigners are exploited here, and from their point of view
the natives are in the right; they consider it a duty to get
whatever they can. Right in the country, like McKnight, you pay
less, but McKnight is getting very dull and has worked very
little so far. And it is better to work hard and spend
more, if one must.
If you would put on one side the best things in what I have
sent, and consider these pictures as payment to be deducted
from what I owe you, then, when the day comes when I'll have
bought you in something like 10,000 francs in this way, I'll
The money that has already been spent in other years ought
to yield some return also, at least in kind.
I am still far from that.
But I feel that on these surroundings there is everything
one needs to do good work. So it will be my own fault if I
don't succeed. Mauve painted and sold in a single month
6,000 francs' worth of watercolours, as you told me yourself
some time ago. Well, there are runs of luck like that, and
after going through all these worries I feel that it's
In this batch there are the pink orchard on coarse canvas,
and the white orchard, lengthways, and the bridge. If we keep
these, I think the price may go up later, and some fifty
pictures of this quality would compensate us in some measure
for our very bad luck in the past. Take these three then for
your own collection, and do not sell them, for they will each
be worth 500 later on.
And if we had 50 like these put aside, then I should breathe
Well, write me soon.
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 10 May 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 485.
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