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[Letter to The Van Stockum - Haanebeek family; the envelope
is addressed to W. J. van Stockum, Esq., Varkensmarkt, The
I should have liked to write sooner, and now I will not
postpone it any longer. How are you? I heard that your house
has been smartened up, and that all is well with you. I hope
very much you will drop me a line when you have a moment to
All is well with me. I see much that is new and beautiful,
and have been fortunate in finding a good boardinghouse, so
that on the whole I feel quite at home already. Yet I do not
forget The Hague, and should very, very much like to spend an
evening in the Poten, and look in on you, too.
The business here is only a stockroom, and our work is quite
different from what it is in The Hague; but I shall probably
get used to it. At six o'clock my work is already done for the
day, so that I have a nice bit of time for myself, which I
spend pleasantly - taking walks, reading and letter
The neighbourhood where I live is quite beautiful, and so
quiet and intimate that you almost forget you are in London. In
front of every house there is a small garden with flowers or a
few trees, and many houses are built very tastefully in a sort
of Gothic style. Still, I have a good half-hour's walk to get
to the country.
We have a piano in the sitting room, and there are also
three Germans living here who are very fond of music, which is
One of the finest sights I have seen is Rotten Row in Hyde
Park, where hundreds of ladies and gentlemen ride on
In all parts of the town there are beautiful parks with a
wealth of flowers such as I have never seen anywhere else.
Enclosed I am sending you a copy of a poem by Van Beers,
which you possibly do not know. Our Elisabeth copied it for me
on my last evening in Helvoirt because she knew I thought so
much of it. It is genuine Brabant: I thought you would read it
with pleasure, and therefore I copied it for you.
It was very considerate of your sister Marie to send me the
announcement. I long to hear something of the wedding, and I
congratulate you all.
Will you kindly let me have a list of your birthdays some
time? I did have one, but lost it.
And now good-by; remember me to everybody in the Poten, and
good luck to you all. Excuse the bad handwriting; it is late
and time to go to bed.
Langzaam galmde `t gesamp der beelok over de velden,
Die, volzalig, in `t goud van de avondzonne zich
The toll of the curfew calling to prayer resounded lazily
across the fields,
THE EVENING HOUR
Which blissfully lay bathed in the gold of the evening
Right in front of him lay the village, with hills to the
north and to the south,
between whose ridges the sun, sinking in the west with a
poured forth its whole wealth of colours and the magic of
Now the little bell in the grey steeple veiled in dark
was silent. The brown sails of the mills, on yonder
hung motionless; the foliage was still; and over the
little puffs of peat-smoke, tinged with blue, rose so
from the chimneys that they too seemed to hang motionless in
the tingling air.
After the sun's good night kiss it was as if this hamlet,
this field, these hills,
everything around, silent and grateful, once more
the richness and peace they had enjoyed,
before wrapping themselves in the cloak of evening dew to
Farther on…but just beside the narrow footpath
followed by the Painter, the sudden loud peal of cheering
met his ears.
Swaying to and fro, a wagon came rumbling toward him,
piled high with the harvest of buckwheat.
Horse and freight were decked with fluttering ribbons and
children, each with a wreath of flowers around his little
sat atop it, brandishing alder twigs,
or raining down a shower of leaves and flowers,
whilst below, around the wagon, a crowd of servant lads and
leaped and sang, so as to startle the whole slumbering
Behind the shrubs, the silently smiling Painter watched
the noisy throng wind its way along the bumpy road.
And thus, pondering the calm and deep delight the soul
savours in the country, or with his artist's mind
in silent rapture the whole glorious scene of a short while
he came, without perceiving it himself, sauntering into the
In the west the purple and yellow had already faded to
and in the east, quite close to the little church, the full
disk of the moon, lightly shrouded in the haze of the
gloaming, had risen
when he entered “The Swan,” the inn where he was
- Jan Van Beers, “The Pauper”
At this time, Vincent was 20 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to . Written 2 July 1873 in London. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number .
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