I am anxiously awaiting the money; I had hoped you would
have seen your way to sending it a few days earlier.
I have explained to you at great length that the painting of
the 50 studies of heads which I intend to do leads to my
incurring more expense than usual. And as, by your writing that
you are suspicious of me, you yourself are the cause of this, I
feel vexed when I think that my being embarrassed every now and
then is to be attributed more to this than to anything else. My
not selling anything would not worry me so much if only my work
could be pushed forward with all possible vigour.
Well, I am doing all I can, and I am making progress after
all. You will also have to take back what you said about your
suspiciousness. When this will be, you will have to decide for
yourself - but I only want to say by way of caution that the
ugliest misunderstandings are caused by suspicion.
As for me, at times I feel wretched because it seems that
your character has congealed in this mould, which I believe
will cause you trouble later on. But what's the use of talking?
What I mean is a family failing, as far as I can see.
I always have the impression that at Zundert, and a few
years earlier than that, there was a generally better
atmosphere in the house. Since then, I feel it has not changed
for the better. At present…
But what I don't know is whether the former - the feeling
that things were better in Zundert - is only my imagination;
this may easily be the case.
But at any rate, now it is not it.
So much for that. Goodbye.
Ever yours, Vincent
Since last summer I cannot help seeing you in my mind's eye
wearing a pince-nez with black glasses.
This does not change a man so much, you will say.
Maybe not - but my impression is that, in a sense other than
the literal one, in your actions and thoughts, you have
procured such black eyeglasses. Suspiciousness for
But on the other hand I think it a good thing to know one's
Paris well - if, once there, you become a Parisian through and
through - analytical, steely, “knowing,” as they
call it - I am not narrow-minded enough to condemn it. That's
not my way. Be and remain a Parisian if you like, it's all
right with me.
There are various things in the world that are great
- the sea with the fishermen - the furrows and the peasants -
the mines and the miners.
And in the same way I also think great the sidewalks
of Paris and the people that know their Paris.
Now, however, you commit an error if on your part you are
unable to understand that your being suspicious of me is
positively improper. Most certainly I think differently, I feel
differently, I act differently. But it is quite consistent when
viewed in its proper relation.
And considering that when I was in Drenthe and I advised you
to become a painter, you wrote me that I was speaking about
your affairs from afar and I conceded this point, the reverse
is most certainly true too, namely that you can only make a
wild guess about my doings here. So give up your suspicions,
for they are simply improper. And the means must be found in
the good progress my work is making - leaving the matter of
more or less mutual sympathy out of the question - to be at
least inoffensive to each other, however much our ways may
run in opposite directions.
At this time, Vincent was 31 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 31 January 1885 in Nuenen. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number .
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