My dear Theo,
I hope it will not amaze you too much that though I wrote
you a letter this morning, I add a few lines the same
For there were several days when I could not write, but you
see clearly that this is over now.
I have written a note to Mother and Wil and addressed it
to our sister, with the sole intention of setting their
minds at rest
Just tell them on your part that I have been a bit beat, the
way I used to be in the past, when I had that venereal trouble
in The Hague, and that I got myself looked after in the
hospital. Only that it is not worth mentioning since I have
completely recovered, and that I was only in the aforesaid
hospital for a few days. In this way your information will
square with the note which I have made them swallow at home in
Holland. And by so doing, it will be very difficult for them to
get into a stew about it. I hope you will think this stratagem
Also you will see by this that I have not yet forgotten how
to jest once in a while.
I am going to set to work again tomorrow. I shall begin by
doing one or two still lifes so as to get back into the habit
of painting. Roulin has been splendid to me, and I dare say
that the will remain a lasting friend. I shall have need enough
of that still, for he knows the country well.
We had our dinner together today.
If ever you want to make the house surgeon Rey very
happy, this is what would please him hugely. He has heard
of a picture by Rembrandt, the “Anatomy Lesson.” I
told him that we would get him the engraving after it for his
As soon as I feel somewhat up to it, I hope to do his
portrait. Last Sunday I met another doctor, who knows his
Delacroix and Puvis de Chavannes at least theoretically, and
who is very curious about impressionism.
I think I can hope to become better acquainted with him.
I think that that engraving of the “Anatomy
Lesson” is stocked by François Buffa & Sons,
and that the net price should be from 12 to 15 francs. We had
better have it framed here to save the cost of
I assure you that some days at the hospital were very
interesting, and perhaps it is from the sick that one learns
how to live.
but and my blood recovers from day to day,
and in the same way serenity returns to my brain day by day. So
please quite deliberately forget your unhappy journey and my
You see that I am doing what you asked, and writing you what
I feel and think. On your part follow this meeting with the
Bongers up quietly. I hope it will continue as a lasting
friendship, and that perhaps it will be even more.
If I stay here, it is because for the moment I might not be
able to transplant myself. After some time we can go over the
pros and cons of the situation and figure things out again.
With a good handshake,
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 7 January 1889 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 569.
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