London, 13 Sept. 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 Helvoirt1 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?2 Oh, how I’d like to have you here, old chap, to see my new lodgings,3 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,4 which included various old acquaintances from the last Brussels Exhibition.5 There were various beautiful things by A. and Julien de Vriendt,6 Cluysenaar,7 Wouters,8 Coosemans,9 Gabriël,10 De Schampheleer,11 &c.
Have you ever seen anything by Terlinden?12 If you have, be sure to write to me about it.
It was truly refreshing to see those Belgian paintings; the English ones13 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’.14
Adieu, old chap, I wish you well, and write soon.
Another English painting is ‘Satan possessing the herd of swine at the Gadarene lake’. It showed some 50 black pigs and piglets, running helter-skelter downhill and tumbling over each other into the sea. It was very edifying. This was, however, a very clever painting by Prinsep.15
I just received your letter. That will be quite a change for you, now that you’re going to The Hague. I bet it’ll cost you dearly to say goodbye to beautiful, convivial Brussels.16 But you’ll get on well in The Hague too. Thanks for writing to me about the paintings. That painting by Millet must have been very rich.17 Adieu, I’ll write again soon.