My dear friend Rappard,
It’s hard to call it very cordial that you haven’t even dropped me a line in all this time. Assuming that you’ll also think more or less the same yourself, however, this subject isn’t under discussion right now.
Something else is that my mother is doing much better than could have been expected at first. And the doctor now dares to give us an assurance that she’ll be better in about 3 months.
I’ve occasionally thought about what we agreed, roughly that I was to have sent you a few watercolours this winter. But because I heard nothing whatsoever from you I didn’t feel at all enthusiastic about it, to put it frankly. So nothing came of it — although I made some.
I’ve mostly been painting these last few weeks — the weavers — toiled away at it quite a bit.
And in these recent mild days painted outside in the fields, a little peasant cemetery.1
Then 5 pen drawings of weavers.2
I haven’t got much more in the way of woodcuts this winter — even so, one very fine print by O’Kelly, Irish emigrants3 — and a cotton spinning mill by Emslie,4 and then the print from the Xmas issue of The Graphic, For those in peril upon the sea.5
Do you know the poems of Jules Breton? I re-read them recently6 at the same time as another little volume of French verse by François Coppée, Les humbles and Promenades et intérieurs.7
Coppée’s really very beautiful too. Character sketches of workers — the demi-monde, too, in which there’s a great deal of sentiment. A very great deal.
Have you been working so hard on your Dominican monk,8 or what was the reason that you haven’t written?
P.S.: I’ve also got hold of a spinning wheel here.9