To Willem and Caroline van Stockum-Haanebeek. London, Wednesday, 2 July 1873.
My dear friends,
I wanted to write to you even earlier, and now I don’t want to put it off any longer. How are you? I’ve heard that you have made your house as neat as a new pin and that you’re doing well. I commend myself expressly to hear something from you, should you have a moment at your disposal.
I’m doing well here; I’m seeing a lot of new and beautiful things, and have had luck in finding a good boarding-house, so that I already feel relatively settled here. Still, I haven’t forgotten The Hague and should very, very much like to spend another evening in the Poten, and also look in on you.
This branch is just a stockroom and is therefore completely different from working in The Hague, though I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I’m already finished with my work at 6 o’clock, so I still have a fair amount of time for myself, which I spend very pleasantly walking, reading and writing letters. The neighbourhood where I live is very pretty, and so peaceful and convivial that one almost forgets one is in London.
In front of every house is a small garden with flowers or a couple of trees, and many houses are built very tastefully in a sort of Gothic style. Still, I have to walk for more than half an hour to reach the countryside.
We have a piano in the drawing room, and there are also three Germans living here who really love music, which is most agreeable. One of the nicest things I’ve seen here is Rotten Row in Hyde Park, which is a long, broad avenue where hundreds of ladies and gentlemen go riding. In every part of the city there are splendid parks with a wealth of flowers such as I’ve seen nowhere else. I enclose a copy of a poem by Van Beers, which you may not know.
Our Elisabeth copied it out for me on my last evening in Helvoirt, because she knew how much I liked it. It’s Brabant to a T. I thought you’d enjoy reading it, so I’ve copied it out for you.
It was very thoughtful of your sister Marie to send me an announcement. I’m longing to hear about the wedding, on which I congratulate you as well. Would you be so kind as to send me a list of your birthdays when you get the opportunity? I had one which I’ve lost. And now, regards, bid everyone in the Poten good-day from me, and I wish you all well. Excuse the poor handwriting, it’s already late and time to go to bed. Good-night.