van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
London, 30 April 1874

Dear Theo,

Many happy returns of your birthday, “Do well and don't look back, then all will come right.” 1

I was glad to receive your last letter. A few days ago I sent you a photograph, “Young Girl with a Sword” by Jacquet, as I thought you would like to have it.

The picture by Van Gorkom is not very dirty. (Entre nous, I have not seen it, but tell him I said it was not very dirty.) How are Mauve and Jet? Tell me about them.

I am glad you visit the Haanebeeks often. When I return to Holland, I will stop for some days in The Hague, because for me The Hague is like a second home to me. (I will stay at your place.)

I would have liked to accompany you on this walk to the Vink. I seize every opportunity to make a tour of the area but, for the moment, I am very busy. It is very beautiful here (although it is in the city). Lilac, hawthorns and laburnums flower in all gardens; the chestnut trees are splendid.

I am very busy gardening now, I have sown scented peas, poppies and daisies; I have nothing more to do than to wait to see what they will give.

I have to tell that I am happy every morning to have to walk the distance between my accommodation and the shop and, in the evening, that between the shop and my accommodation, it is a good three-quarters of an hour walk each time.

It is a fine thing that business finishes so early; the office closes at six o'clock, and yet there is no less work done. My compliments to all the friends, especially to Tersteeg, Haanebeek and Carbentus, also to everyone at Uncle Pompe's because they are going to Kampen, and to Mr. Bakhuyzen. Best wishes.


The apple trees have blossomed beautifully; I think everything is earlier here than in Holland.

As soon as I know anything more definite about my going home, I shall write at once. I am afraid, however, that I shall not be able to go for at least four weeks. Write soon.

  1. A Dutch phrase.

At this time, Vincent was 21 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 30 April 1874 in London. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 016.

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