van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Andreis Bonger to His Parents
Paris, 1885

[Extracts from letters written by A. Bonger from Paris to his parents.]

31 March 1885

I never accompanied a friend to the North Station under more melancholy circumstances than a week ago last Friday.

In the morning my friend Van Gogh had heard that his father had had a stroke of apoplexy and was dead. The day before he had received a letter from him in which he told him that he was in perfect health. Van Gogh is not very strong himself. So you can well imagine in what condition he went away.

4 April 1885

Yesterday I spent the evening with my friend Van Gogh, who was still very sad on account of his father's death. He is the most sympathetic person I have had intercourse with in Paris. He is a charming fellow to know. It is impossible to imagine more entertaining company than his.

18 July 1885

If I live I hope to start for Lisle next Saturday; from there I shall go to Antwerp via Brugge and Ghent, in order to visit Van Gogh's family in Brabant, and from there I shall go on to Amsterdam, where I think I shall arrive on Thursday night or Friday morning. Reciprocally Van Gogh will probably look me up in Amsterdam. It will give me a great deal of pleasure to introduce my friend to you. He is a likeable and entertaining man…

25 August 1885

…Since our journey together Van Gogh and I have become even more intimate friends than before. He is a person who improves more and more on acquaintance, and whose qualities of the heart and the head I learn to appreciate ever more. I am very glad to hear that he made a good impression on you too. I go to him rather often in the evening to read something or to work. So far we have devoted our Sunday mornings to the Louvre…

24 December 1885

It is certain that Mrs. Van Gogh and her daughter Willy will go to Amsterdam in January. Though she may not call on you (she broke her leg, and consequently she cannot climb stairs, or only with great difficulty), you will certainly hear from her. I feel sure that Mien will like the sister. It would give Van Gogh and me a great deal of pleasure if you could get on with each other. It is a family in which the same tone prevails as in yours.

At this time, Vincent was 32 year old
Andreis Bonger. Letter to His Parents. Written 1885 in Paris. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number htm.

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