To Anthon van Rappard. The Hague, Saturday, 24 June 1882.
My dear friend Rappard
This is to thank you for your last letter, which I would certainly have done earlier were it not for the fact I’ve not been my normal self for some time. I must tell you your letter reached me not at my studio but in the hospital, where I’ve been for 3 weeks now. So your letter was doubly welcome at the time, and what you say about the drawings that seem not to have pleased my worthy Uncle gave me double pleasure. Later, however, I heard from someone else that they weren’t so bad and that he hadn’t meant to be so critical. Whatever the case, while I was making those drawings and some more since, of the same sort of fish-drying barns in the dunes for instance, I caught a cold and then had fever and nerves as well, and it seems that one thing and another affected the bladder so that I couldn’t urinate, and in the end I was so anxious and in such pain that I came here. And they rummaged around in my bladder with a catheter and so forth, and now I’m beginning to return to a more normal condition, which pleases me a good deal. But I’m not clear of it yet, and still don’t know whether I’ll be able to go home soon. I hope it will be over within a week, but it will take some time in any event.
It’s very pleasant here in the hospital. I’m in a ward with 10 beds, but until today I was unable to draw because I had to lie still, and and even now I’ve made only a very faint and weak beginning and can’t pursue anything or go deeper into things. But I’m allowed in the garden for an hour a day, and there I began scrawling again yesterday. And at least I’m starting to look again, whereas at first I was too miserable even to see.
I’ll have to take things very quietly for a while when I leave here. Oh well.
I must say a particular word in praise of the treatment here. If I’m ever taken ill again, I shan’t hesitate for a moment, any more than I do now, before going to the hospital. It’s far more practical, in my view, than lying ill at home, at least in circumstances like mine. I feel as if I’m now almost completely cured, but the problem is that as a result of too much moving and walking &c. I may have a relapse at any moment, which is what happened to me last week; otherwise I would now be well on the way. As soon as I have a few drawings again in a little while, of the fish-drying barns or a courtyard, for instance, I would dearly like to send you something to see if you can place it. But I shan’t be in a hurry, and shall wait until I have one better than average, because I would rather send it to you than to Amsterdam again. Although I do hope Amsterdam will turn out all right again.
And we must agree that if you’re unable to place it you mustn’t hesitate to send it back, and mustn’t think I’ll be discouraged, because it won’t work straightaway. So whether it’s the fault of my drawing or the fault of the possible buyer, let the two of us agree that we shan’t immediately let ourselves be frightened off by the failure of the experiment (were it not to succeed). When I’m back at work, I’ll write again soon. Thanks again for your letter — I didn’t want to put off replying to it any longer. Meanwhile believe me