Letter 0005

Letter 0005: From Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh

The Hague, 17 March 1873

My dear Theo,
It is time you heard from me again, and I'm eager to hear how you are and how Uncle Hein is doing, and I hope that you can find the time to write me.

You have certainly heard that I'm going to London, and probably very soon. I do hope we can meet before then.

If I possibly can I will go to Helvoirt at Easter, but that will depend on the novelties Iterson takes along on his trip. I will not be able to leave before he returns.

It will be a very different life for me in L., as I probably will have just a room to lodge in, and have many things that I will have to trouble myself with that are not a bother now. I am very anxious to see L., as you can imagine, but I regret to move from here. Now that it is determined that I have to leave I notice just how attached I am to the Hague. But anyway, it cannot be helped so I intend to not take things too hard. It will be wonderful for my English, which I do understand quite well, though I do not speak it as well as I wish.

I have heard from Anna that you have had your portrait taken. If you can spare one I thank you.

How is Uncle Hein? Certainly no better, and how is Aunt doing? Can Uncle keep himself busy, and does he have a lot of pain. Greet them warmly for me, I think so often of them.

How is it going in the business now? Surely it is busy for you there as it is here. You probably know your way around and are comfortable by this time.

How is it in your boarding house, does it still please you? That is very important. You should especially tell me more about the paintings you see. Sunday a fortnight ago I went to Amsterdam to see an exhibition of the paintings that will go to Vienna from here. That was very interesting, and I'm curious what impression the Dutch painters will make in Vienna. I'm very curious about the English painters also, we see so little of them, because almost everything stays in England. Goupil has no shop in London, but only supplies the trade there.

Uncle Cent is coming here at the end of the month, and I look forward to hearing from him.

The Haanebeeks and Aunt Fie, they often ask about you and send you their greetings.

What lovely weather we have had lately. I benefit from it as much as I can. Last Sunday I went rowing with Willem. I would like to have stayed here this summer, but we have to take things as they come.

And now, adieu, I wish you well and hope you write to me. Say hello to Uncle and Aunt, and Schmidt and Eduard for me. About Easter, I am only hoping.

Your loving. brother

Mr. and Mrs. Roos also send their greetings.

I just received your letter, thank you for it. I am very pleased with my portrait, it turned out quite nice. If I hear anything more about my move to Helvoirt I'll write to you immediately. It would be very nice if we arrived there on the same day. Adieu.

Theo, I need to suggest again that you start smoking a pipe. It does you good when you are out of sorts as I am quite a bit these days.

From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: 17 March 1873
Place: The Hague
Letter 0005
Translation © vangoghonline.com

Vincent was soon to leave The Hague and move to London as his employer, Goupil & Co., had decided to transfer him there. The decision was made with the advice of Vincent's Uncle, also named Vincent van Gogh.

Iterson was also an employee of Goupil & Co., and the novelties were new editions the company had printed that Iterson was to try and sell.

One benefit Vincent saw about moving to London was improving his command of the English language. Vincent was actually very good with languages. He spoke Dutch of course, but also learned English and French while living, working, and painting in England and France. In addition he sometimes read books in German.

Willem Marinus Valkis, whom Vincent went rowing with, was also a boarder in the Roos household.