To Willem and Caroline van Stockum-Haanebeek. London, Thursday, 7 August 1873
My dear friends,
It was a very pleasant surprise for me to receive Caroline’s letter. Thank you. I sincerely hope that she’s now completely better; fortunately, it’s past. When you write again sometime I must hear more about that last piece you made.1 I was truly astounded by it; for 10 people, that’s surely the biggest you’ve done.
The last few days I’ve enjoyed reading the poems of John Keats; he’s a poet who isn’t very well known in Holland, I believe. He’s the favourite of the painters here, and that’s how I came to be reading him. Herewith something by him. His most famous piece is ‘St Agnes’ eve’, but it’s rather too long to copy out.
I haven’t yet been to the Crystal Palace and the Tower, nor to Tussaud’s; I’m not at all in a hurry to go and see everything. For the time being I have enough with the museums, parks, &c., which attract me more.
I had a nice day last Monday. The first Monday in Aug. is a holiday here. I went with one of the Germans to Dulwich, an hour and a half outside L., to see the museum there, and afterwards we walked to a village about an hour further on. The countryside here is so beautiful; many people who have their business in L. live in some village or other outside L. and come to the city every day by train. Perhaps I’ll soon be doing that as well, if I can find a cheap room somewhere. But I find moving so terrible that I’ll stay here as long as possible, though things aren’t as nice here as they seemed at first. Perhaps this is my fault, so I’ll wait a little longer.
I’m sorry that my letter isn’t as I’d wish it to be, I’m writing in haste. But I wanted to congratulate you on Willem’s birthday and wish you many happy returns. It gave me a great deal of pleasure to hear that you had renewed your acquaintance with the Tersteeg family. I had long been hoping that you would, for your sake. Write to me when you get the chance and tell me which photographs you’ve received, I’m curious to know.
I’ve had a letter from Marinus, and have understood from it that he’s going to Amsterdam. That will be a big change for him, I hope he’ll do well. I was glad he wrote to me. A day or two ago I had a visit from a brother of Iterson who lives here, and so had the first opportunity of speaking Dutch since May. We live a long way from each other, which I very much regret. And now I bid you good-day, I wish you well. Many regards to everyone in the Poten. I wish you well,
Cheer me up soon with a letter if you can find the time.