van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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 Memoir of Johanna Gesina van Gogh - Bonger

March 3

This morning I was at Wisselingh's 3 in Amsterdam - and enjoyed it. It is like Theo's small rooms on Boulevard Montmartre - somewhat less distinguished, the aspect, I mean - but there were splendid things. A small Corot, a little mill on the top of a green hill - a charming Monticelli, trees in blossom, a splendid Neuhuys, a child and a cradle, a still life by Vollon, cool and distinguished in tone, a Michel - magnificent - a somber, fantastic Breitner - I have not seen so much splendour united in a long time. I had taken along a little thing of Vincent's - but a very, very beautiful one - I showed it to them, and now they want to have some on commission. What a triumph. I am so glad of it - it made me happy all day long. When this afternoon I came back by train with the child to Bussum the sky was so delightfully beautiful - every time a golden sun shooting out from behind white, vapory clouds - it was as if it were Theo's face - rejoicing in the recognition of his brother! This evening a letter came from Toorop, telling me that the exhibition at The Hague will come off soon now - in the middle of this month - what a storm of emotions this will cause. We must gather all our courage before then, and be resolute in face of the enemies, for how many they will be...

March 6

These last days I have spent every free hour I had absorbed in the letters. I postponed it far too long, but from now on I am going to undertake it as a regular task - working steadily on until it is finished. Not with the passion of the first days - for then I was occupied with it until deep into the night - such extravagances I must not permit myself. My foremost duty is to be spry and healthy to be able to care for the child. In thought I am living wholly with Theo and Vincent, oh, the infinitely delicate, tender and lovely [quality] of that relation. How they felt for each other, how they understood each other, and oh, how touching Vincent's dependence at times - Theo never let him feel it, but now and then he feels it himself, and then his letters are very sad - often I wept over them.

My darling - my dear - dear Theo - at every word, between every two lines, I am thinking of you - how you made me part of yourself in the short time we were together - I am still living with you, by you. May your spirit go on inspiring me, then everything will be all right with our little fellow.

Who will write that book about Vincent?...

March 20

Some of Vincent's pictures are on show at Oldenzeel's in Rotterdam-in the Nieuwe Rotterdamse Courant there were two articles by Johan de Meester, and a very enthusiastic one in another paper. To me it gives an inexpressible satis-faction - that in this way he is becoming more and more known. On Wednesday I went to Leiden with young Vincent - where we celebrated Wil's birthday very pleasantly - and next day I went to Rotterdam to talk things over with Oldenzeel himself, and to see how it was. He has got a magnificent house - nearly a marble palace, and in one of the corridors were the drawings - splendid. The paintings were not hanging so well - round some of them he had fabricated frames that made them ugly - but in autumn he wants to have another exhibition, and then it can be magnificent...

March 25

A letter from Toorop that he will arrange the Vincent exhibition - this at least is another load off my mind. The pictures have gone now - the ship has put to sea!…

March 27

A rainy Sunday - got acquainted with Gavarni through de Goncourt's book - I so much like to compare the lives of other artists with that of Vincent's. Gavarni also often [lived in] poverty and misery - also formed his talent with difficulty and by working - not born with it.

I only read the book cursorily, but I am going to study it carefully, and than look at the lithographs I have, leisurely....

Tonight a letter from Pulchri - the exhibition will open on May 6 - in the new galleries So that is settled.

March 31

A beautiful sunny day. In the tree in front of the house a blackbird is singing to its heart's content. How new all this is for me again - these birds - flowers and plants - it is only now that I discover that I was educated in a house in town, and that I never was in the country when I was young....

April 7

Since a few days Mother van Gogh staying here....

In the afternoon we go and sit in the glass veranda together, very cosily, and talk about all kinds of things, family matters, all the memories of the past, which I like to hear so much. I must get to know a lot of things about Vincent - and then I am going to write it all down.

May 13

Next Sunday the Vincent exhibition in The Hague - what will that day bring? Satisfaction or disappointment - how long I have been hoping for it - at last it will be a fact....

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