The Hague, 30 Dec. 1881.
I received your letter from Brussels.1
I don’t like it at all, but still, you wrote it at a time when, as you yourself say, you weren’t quite normal. Nothing or next to nothing in your letter holds water.
I’m glad you’re back from Brussels. Still, you don’t belong there in my opinion, and as regards the ‘technical competence’ you hope to gain at the Academy, you will, I fear, end up being deceived. Even that can’t be learned from people like Stallaert
But now I’m busy with all kinds of work, for I’ve rented a small studio here and will be moving into it around 1 January and still have a lot of things to see to.
Later, when things have quietened down a bit, I’ll write to you again calmly about this and that, but don’t take offence if I’ve got more serious things to do now than write letters.
Of course my letters don’t pretend always to hit the mark, always to explain things precisely, oh no, I’m often wrong about things. But if I tell you,
, those academics you worry about aren’t worth tuppence, and I’m referring to Stallaert
&c., I mean it with all my heart, and I’m telling you, if I were you I’d forget about them. But I’ve already told you this a couple of times, I won’t say it again, I don’t want to hear another syllable or utter another syllable about the whole academy ever again. It isn’t worth the bother.
And I hereby send you my regards – what kind of people are they, those artists with whom you drank Lambiek?3
Why don’t you mention even a couple of them by name? Are they people who’ll be of any use to you? I hope so, for your sake, but I seriously doubt it.
Good-day, old chap, I have no more time, nor any desire, to write more. When you’re in your studio, work often with a model, you’ll get more satisfaction from it in the long run. Anyway – good-day.
Should you want to write to me again, send your letters to Etten. They’ll send them on – I’m wavering between 2 or 3 studios and will decide which one to take before 1 January,4
but at the moment I don’t have a fixed address, you’ll learn of it at some point. I left Etten because I was having too much trouble with my father
about all sorts of things that actually aren’t worth talking about – about going to church &c. &c., and even if I worked hard and a great deal, it put me in a state of weariness and coldness that’s not good for anything. So I’ve settled down here and am glad to be in different surroundings. I have a few worries, but that’s better than all that quarrelling and nagging.