To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, Friday, 21 December 1883.
My dear Theo,
I wanted to drop you a line to tell you that, as a result of the arrangement with Pa and Ma to let me use the room that has until now served as the mangle room as a studio and storeroom for the bits and pieces I have, I’ve come to The Hague to pack up and send my studies, prints, &c. &c. Which I need to attend to myself.
I’ve also spent a day with Rappard, who was very cordial, and reassured me not a little concerning some scruples that I had about regarding it as something that might be of a permanent nature.
Well, I saw drawings (watercolours) and painted studies by him that I consider very good.
Particularly the old women’s home on Terschelling. What a change you would see in his work. Again — what I said about the Rappards — I do not mean by that that I’ve ever wished nor wish now that they should spend money on my studio at home. Not that — but that it should be in the simplest way a room where I at least have a pied-à-terre, so that I can get through hard times more easily.
There’s all the more reason to take careful steps, precisely because we’re poorer than the Rappards.
Anyway, when time has passed it will, I think, be conducive to arriving at a solid result.
I’ve seen the woman again, which I very much longed to do.
I really do feel that it would be hard to begin again.
But that doesn’t alter the fact that I don’t in any way want to act as if I didn’t know her or something.
And I wished that at home they could realize that the bounds of compassion do not lie where the world draws them. You, after all, understood me in this. Given the circumstances, she has behaved bravely since then, a reason for me to forget the problems I had with her from time to time.
And precisely because I can do almost nothing more for her now, I must at least try to put heart into her and fortify her. I see in her a woman, I see in her a mother, and I believe any man who is at all manly must protect such a one if there’s an opportunity to do something. I’ve never been ashamed of it, nor shall I be ashamed of it.
Well, I write in haste. With a handshake.
My address is
Kosthuis No 1
But of course I won’t be here long