To Theo van Gogh. London, Saturday, 13 September 1873.
My dear Theo,
Writing to Uncle Hein, I’m enclosing a word for you. I’m very curious to hear whether you went to Helvoirt on Ma’s birthday and how it was there.
Did you get my letter and the lithograph by Weissenbruch that I put in the crate of paintings? Oh, how I’d like to have you here, old chap, to see my new lodgings, which you’ll have heard about. I now have a room, as I’ve long been wishing, without sloping beams and without blue wallpaper with a green border. It’s a very diverting household where I am now, in which they run a school for little boys.
Some time ago I spent a Saturday rowing on the Thames with 2 Englishmen. It was glorious. Yesterday I saw an exhibition of Belgian paintings, which included various old acquaintances from the last Brussels Exhibition. There were various beautiful things by A. and Julien de Vriendt, Cluysenaar, Wouters, Coosemans, Gabriël, De Schampheleer, &c. Have you ever seen anything by Terlinden? If you have, be sure to write to me about it.
It was truly refreshing to see those Belgian paintings; the English ones are, with few exceptions, very disagreeable and feeble. Some time ago I saw one with a sort of fish or dragon no less than 6 ells long. It was ghastly. And a little man who was going to kill the above-mentioned creature. And all this represented, I believe, ‘the archangel Michael slaying Satan’.
Adieu, old chap, I wish you well, and write soon.