My dear Theo, my dear Jo,
Thank you for your letter which I received this morning,1 and for the fifty francs that were inside it.
Today I saw Dr Gachet again, and I’m going to paint at his place on Tuesday morning, then I’m going to lunch with him and afterwards he’ll come to see my painting. He seems very reasonable to me, but is as discouraged in his profession of country doctor as I with my painting. So I told him that I would, however, gladly swap profession for profession. Anyway, I readily think that I’ll end up being friends with him. He told me, besides, that if melancholy or something else were to become too strong for me to bear, he could well do something again to lessen its intensity, and that I mustn’t be embarrassed to be open with him. Well, that moment when I have need of him may indeed come, however up to today things are going well. And they may get even better, I still believe that it’s above all an illness of the south that I caught, and that the return here will be enough to dispel all that.
Often, very often, I think of your little one, and I then tell myself that I would like him to be big enough to come to the country. For it’s the best system of bringing them up here. How I would like you, Jo and the little one to have a rest in the country instead of the traditional journey to Holland. Yes, I’m well aware that Mother will absolutely want to see the little one, and it’s certainly a reason to go there. However, she would certainly understand if it were really in the little one’s best interests.
Here we’re far enough from Paris for it to be the real countryside, but nevertheless, how changed since Daubigny. But not changed in an unpleasant way, there are many villas and various modern and middle-class dwellings, very jolly, sunny and covered with flowers.
1v:2 That in an almost lush countryside, just at this moment of the development of a new society in the old one, has nothing disagreeable about it; there’s a lot of well-being in the air. I see or think I see a calm there à la Puvis de Chavannes, no factories, but beautiful greenery in abundance and in good order.
When you have the opportunity, will you tell me which painting Miss Boch bought? I must write to her brother to thank them, and then I would propose the exchange of two of my studies for one by each of them.2
Enclosed is a note which you will please send to Isaäcson.3
I have a drawing of an old vineyard of which I plan to do a no. 30 canvas,4 then a study of pink chestnut trees5 and one of white chestnut trees.6 But if circumstances permit, I hope to do a little figure work. Paintings vaguely present themselves to my sight which it will take time to shape, but that will come little by little. If I hadn’t been ill, I would have written to Boch and to Isaäcson long since. My trunk hasn’t arrived yet, which annoys me, I sent a telegram this morning.
Thank you in advance for the canvas and the paper.7 Yesterday and today it rains and is stormy, but it isn’t unpleasant to see these effects again. The beds haven’t arrived either.8 But despite these annoyances, I feel happy no longer to be so far from you all and our friends. I hope that your health will be good. It seemed to me, though, that you had less appetite than before, and from what the doctors say, we should have very solid food for our temperaments. So be sensible about it, especially Jo too, as she has her child to feed. Truly, the amount should be doubled, it wouldn’t be any exaggeration when there are children to make and feed. Without that it’s like a train moving slowly where the route is straight. Time enough to reduce steam when the route is more uneven. Handshake in thought.