One of these days I am going to send you another pen-and-ink
drawing of a weaver - larger than the other five; the loom seen
from the front - it will make this little series of drawings
more complete; I believe they will look best if you have them
mounted on grey Ingres.
It would rather disappoint me if you sent these little
weavers back to me. And if none of the people you know would
care to take them, I should think that you might take them for
yourself, as the beginning of a collection of pen-and-ink
drawings of Brabant artisans.
Which I should love to make, and which, as I shall be in
Brabant pretty often now, I should be very eager to do.
On condition of making a series of them, which must be kept
together, I will price them low, so that though I might make
many drawings of the same kind, they might be kept together.
But I, for my part, will agree to what you think best.
And you see it is not my aim to break off relations with
you; I only wanted to point out that it seemed necessary to me
that, when I send the pen drawings, you at least show them to
That is, if the woman has loved you, has really cared for
you, and you for her, this period of love is a piece of good
fortune in life.
She, the woman, may be beautiful or plain, young or old,
better or worse, that affects it only indirectly. The only
thing that matters is that you have loved each other. On
parting - don't smother it or try to forget it - the only cliff
to be avoided then is that of self-righteousness, one
must not pretend then that the woman is under great obligations
to the man, one must part as if one were under an obligation
oneself - that is, in my opinion, more courteous and humane -
perhaps that is your opinion too. Love always brings
difficulties, that is true, but the good side of it is that it
Of myself I believe - and I think it possible that it is the
same with you - that I have not yet had enough experience with
women. What we were taught about them in our youth is quite
wrong, that is sure, it was quite contrary to nature, and one
must try to learn from experience. It would be very pleasant if
everybody were good, and the world were good, etc. - yes - but
it seems to me that we see more and more that we are not good,
no more than the world in general, of which we are an atom -
and the world no more good than we are. One may try one's best,
or act carelessly, the result is always different from what one
really wanted. But whether the result be better or worse,
fortunate or unfortunate, it is better to do something than to
do nothing. If only one is wary of becoming a prim,
self-righteous prig - as Uncle Vincent calls it - one may be
even as good as one likes. Well, goodbye,
Yours sincerely, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 30 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 9 March 1884 in Nuenen. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 359.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.