To Theo van Gogh. London, Friday, 13 June 1873.
My dear Theo,
You’re probably longing to hear from me, so I don’t want to keep you waiting for a letter any longer. I heard from home that you’re now staying with Mr Schmidt, and that Pa has been to see you. I sincerely hope that this will be more to your liking than your previous boarding-house, and don’t doubt that it will be. Write to me soon, I’m longing to hear from you, and tell me how you’re spending your days at present, &c. Write to me especially about the paintings you’ve seen recently, and also whether anything new has been published in the way of etchings or lithographs. You must keep me well informed about this, because here I don’t see much in that genre, as the firm here is just a stockroom.
I’m very well, considering the circumstances. I’ve come by a boarding-house that suits me very well for the present. There are also three Germans in the house who really love music and play piano and sing themselves, which makes the evenings very pleasant indeed. I’m not as busy here as I was in The Hague, as I only have to be in the office from in the morning until in the evening, and on Saturdays I’m finished by 4 o’clock. I live in one of the suburbs of London, where it’s comparatively quiet. It’s a bit like Tilburg or some such place.
I spent some very pleasant days in Paris and, as you can imagine, very much enjoyed all the beautiful things I saw at the exhibition and in the Louvre and the Luxembourg. The Paris branch is splendid, and much larger than I’d imagined. Especially the Place de l’Opéra. Life here is very expensive. I pay 18 shillings a week for my lodgings, not including the washing, and then I still have to eat in town. Last Sunday I went on an outing with Mr Obach, my superior, to Box Hill, which is a high hill (some 6 hours from L.), partly of chalk and covered with box trees, and on one side a wood of tall oak trees. The countryside here is magnificent, completely different from Holland or Belgium. Everywhere one sees splendid parks with tall trees and shrubs, where one is allowed to walk. During the Whitsun holiday I also took a nice trip with those Germans, but those gentlemen spend a great deal of money and I shan’t go out with them any more. I was glad to hear from Pa that Uncle H. is reasonably well. Would you give my warm regards to him and Aunt and give them news of me? Bid good-day to Mr Schmidt and Eduard from me, and write to me soon. Adieu, I wish you well.
My address is:
Care of Messrs Goupil & Co.
17 Southampton Street