I’ve been meaning to answer your letter for days, but didn’t get round to writing because I was painting from morning till night, and so the time passed. I imagine that your thoughts, like mine, are with Jo
and Theo. How glad I was when the news came that it had gone well; very good thing Wil
stayed. I’d much rather that he’d called his boy after Pa
, whom I’ve thought about so often these days, than after me, but anyway, as it’s been done now I started right away to make a painting for him, to hang in their bedroom. Large branches of white almond blossom against a blue sky.1
I thank you for the news about Cor
. You won’t forget to send him my regards when you write, will you? What you write about Aunt Mina
, that she bears her pain with so much patience,2
touched me. You must be back in Leiden again by now. The last few days we’ve had rather miserable weather here, but today it was a real spring day, and the fields of young wheat and the lilac hills in the distance so beautiful, and the almond trees are beginning to blossom everywhere. I was really rather surprised at that article they wrote about me3
wanted to do it some time ago4
and I asked him not to put pen to paper; I was saddened by it when I read it because it’s so exaggerated; it’s not like that — precisely what sustains me in my work is the feeling that there are several people who are doing exactly the same as I, and so why an article about me and not about those 6 or 7 others etc.?
Now I must confess that later, when my surprise had abated somewhat, I felt very heartened by it at times; yesterday, what’s more, Theo informed me that they’d sold one of my paintings in Brussels for 400 francs.5
In comparison with other prices, including the Dutch ones, this isn’t much, but that’s why I try to be productive
in order to be able to keep
working at reasonable
prices. And if we have to try to earn our living with our hands, I have an awful lot of expenses to make up for.
The letter from Wil
and you just arrived, thank you very much for it. I should have written to you before but, as I said, my mind wasn’t on writing because I was so busy working.
Now I’m seriously thinking of profiting from that windfall of selling that painting to go to Paris — to visit Theo. And thanks to the doctor
here I feel I’ll leave calmer and healthier than I came here. Just to see how it goes outside an asylum is perhaps only a matter of course. The work may possibly be more difficult for me, though, when I’m at liberty again.
Anyway, we’ll hope for the best. It’s odd that my friend
with whom I worked for a time in Arles should want to go to Antwerp,6
and that way I’d be a little closer to you all again. But I’m afraid this isn’t entirely practicable, partly because I think it would be more expensive, and if one’s accustomed to the climate here it might also be bad for one’s health to return further north. Anyway, I’ll start by trying a week or so in Paris. Embraced in thought by your loving