I write to you in a great hurry; won't it soon be time for
you to go to Paris? If so, write to me the day and the hour,
and in all probability I shall see you at the station.
If you have time to stay a day, or more or less, I should be
very happy; I should have some drawings to show you, types from
here; it wouldn't be worth while for you to leave the train for
those alone, but you would easily find something to attract you
in the scenery and in the curious aspect of things - everything
in this neighbourhood has such a picturesque character.
Have you read Les Temps Difficiles [Hard Times] by Dickens?
I have written the title in French because there exists a very
good French translation for 1fr. 25, in the Hachette edition:
Bibliothèque des meilleurs Romans étrangers.
[Library of the Best Foreign Novels.] It is a masterpiece, the
author in this work has painted a moving and sympathetic
portrait of a working man called Stephen Blackpool,
I was in Brussels recently, and in Maria Hoorebeke and in
Tournay, partly on foot.
For the present I am at the following address: M. Frank,
Evangelist at Cuesmes (near Mons) au Marais.
There have been many thunderstorms here lately. Do try, dear
fellow, and arrange to stay over an hour or so.
Lately I have been at a studio again, namely at the Reverend
Pietersen's, who paints in the manner of Schelfhout or
Hoppenbrouwers, and has good ideas about art.
He asked me for one of my sketches, a miner type. Often I
draw far into the night, to keep some souvenir and to
strengthen the thoughts raised involuntarily by the aspect of
But, boy, I have no more time. I have written to Mr.
Tersteeg to thank him for the box of paints he sent me, and the
sketchbook, which is almost half full already.
Shall I see you? How welcome you would be. I promise you
Dickens's Les Temps Difficiles if you will come to fetch it;
otherwise I will send it to you when I have a chance. À
Dieu. A handshake in thought, and believe me always,
Yours truly, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 26 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 5 August 1879 in Cuesmes. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 131.
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