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001 To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, Sunday, 29 September 1872.

No. 001 (Brieven 1990 001, Complete Letters 1)
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: The Hague, Sunday, 29 September 1872

Source status
Original manuscript

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, inv. no. b1 V/1962

Letter headed: ‘[Den Haag, 29 september 187]2.’ (see Textual Notes). The date is based on the harness racing mentioned in the letter (l. 18), which took place on 28 September 1872.

original text
[Den Haag, 29 september 187]2.

[Waarde] Theo,
Dank voor je brief, het deed mij genoegen dat je weer goed aangekomen zijt. Ik heb je de eerste dagen gemist & het was mij vreemd je niet te vinden als ik s’middags t’huis kwam.
Wij hebben prettige dagen samen gehad, en tusschen de droppeltjes doora toch nog al eens gewandeld & het een en ander gezien.
Wat vreesselijk weer, je zult het wel benauwd hebben op je wandelingen naar Ois[ter]wijk.1 Gisteren is het harddraverij geweest ter gelegenheid van de tentoonstelling,2 maar de illuminatie & het vuurwerk zijn uit gesteld, om het slechte weer,3 het is dus maar goed dat je niet gebleven zijt om die te zien. Groeten van de familie Haanebeek4 & Roos.5 Steeds

je liefh.

The Hague, 29 September 1872.

My dear Theo,
Thanks for your letter, I was glad to hear that you got back safely. I missed you the first few days, and it was strange for me not to find you when I came home in the afternoon.
We spent some pleasant days together, and actually did go for some walks and see a thing or two whenever we had the chance.
What terrible weather, you must feel anxious on your walks to Oisterwijk.1 Yesterday there were trotting races on the occasion of the exhibition,2 but the illumination and fireworks were postponed because of the bad weather,3 so it’s just as well you didn’t stay to see them. Regards from the Haanebeeks4 and the Rooses.5 Ever,

Your loving
a. Expression meaning ‘to make the most of an opportunity’. In the context of this letter, it could also be meant literally.
1. Theo attended secondary school in Oisterwijk in the province of North Brabant. He walked the 6 km to school from his parents’ house in Helvoirt. The fact that Vincent assumes Theo must have felt ‘anxious’ during these long walks must have something to do with the stormy autumn weather: they were having at the time, which included frequent showers, strong winds and occasional thunderstorms (KNMI).
2. The trotting races took place on Saturday, 28 September at 11.00 in the Haagse Bos, during the Nationale- en Internationale tentoonstelling (National and International Exhibition) held on the Malieveld from 21-30 September 1872 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Hollandsche Maatschappij van Landbouw (Dutch Agricultural Association). See Landbouw-Courant 26 (1872), 21 September, no. 39, p. 162.
3. The programme included a display of fireworks on Thursday on the terrace of the Stedelijk Badhuis (Municipal Baths); an illumination on Friday in the garden of the Zoölogisch Botanisch Genootschap (Zoological Botanical Society), and, in the same garden, a Bengal light on Saturday. The bad weather caused the fireworks to be postponed several times, according to a report in Het Vaderland of 30 September 1872, no. 232.
4. The family of Carl Adolph Haanebeek was distantly related, via his second wife, Leonarda Catharina Adriana Stricker, to the Van Gogh family.
5. Van Gogh boarded with Willem Marinus Roos and his wife Dina Margrieta van Aalst, who lived at Lange Beestenmarkt 32 in The Hague. The couple had no children.