My dear Theo,
Few things have given me so much pleasure recently as hearing reports from home just now that greatly reassure me as to their mood.
Sien came to tell me that a package had arrived at my studio and I asked her to go and open it and see what was inside, and if there was a letter to bring it with her. That’s how I know that they’ve sent a whole package with all sorts of clothing, over- and underclothes, and cigars, and 10 guilders were enclosed with the letter.
I can’t tell you how it affected me, especially now — it’s better than I expected — but they still don’t know about one thing and another. Yet I’m greatly reassured.
I’m weak and faint, Theo, and I absolutely, absolutely must have rest if I’m to get better, so I welcome everything that means peace.
But before I lay here I was worse than now, and the main thing you should know now is that it isn’t bad, and only a short period of treatment here will be needed to get me back on my feet.  1v:2
I wanted to let you know about Pa and Ma right away because I thought it would please you too.
Sien will probably leave next Monday,1 for I believe that there’s no better place for her than in a hospital now, and she can be admitted around mid-June. But now she wanted to stay for my sake, but I don’t want that.
I have my perspective books2 here and a few volumes of Dickens, including Edwin Drood.3 There’s perspective in Dickens too. By Jove, what an artist. There’s no one to match him.
I hope that lying still for a little may have a good influence on my drawing, because sometimes you see things better when you aren’t able to work on them for a while, and everything seems new and fresh, so to speak, when you come back to it later. The view from the window of the ward is splendid to me: wharves, the canal with potato barges, the backs of houses being demolished, with workers, a bit of garden and in the next, more distant plane the quay with the row of trees  1v:3 and lamp-posts, a complicated court with its gardens, and also all the roofs, all seen in a bird’s-eye view, but made mysterious in the evening and morning above all by the light effect like, for example, a Ruisdael or Vermeer.4
But I’m not allowed to draw it, and couldn’t anyway as long as I’m so weak. But despite not being allowed to get out of bed, in the evening I can’t resist going over to look at it.
Write to me soon. It was so kind of home and gave me so much pleasure, especially now.
The rest is doing me so much good and making me much calmer and taking away the nervousness I’ve suffered from so much recently. And here in the ward it’s no less fascinating for me than the 3rd-class waiting room. But I may not and cannot draw just yet.
Adieu, I hope you’ll write to me. Believe me

Ever yours,

I thought it was so nice that this came from home, especially now, that I wanted to write to you directly. Also, needless to say, I don’t need any more clothes now. I’ve written home to thank them and to tell them I was here.5

You know the address is

4th Class
Ward 6, No. 9.


Br. 1990: 238 | CL: 207
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: The Hague, Friday, 9 June 1882

1. When exactly Sien left is not known. On Tuesday, 13 June she visited Vincent in the hospital, as shown by letter 245 in combination with his father’s account of his visit (cited in letter 239, n. 7). In letter 239 of 22 June Van Gogh says that she is then in the hospital in Leiden.
a. Means: ‘het ziekenhuis’ (the hospital).
2. Van Gogh might be referring here to Guide de l’alphabet du dessin and Traité d’aquarelle by Armand Cassagne among other works. See cat. Amsterdam 1996, pp. 19-21.
3. The mystery of Edwin Drood (1870) is the last work by Charles Dickens, and because of his death was only half finished. As a result the mysterious disappearance of Edwin Drood in this detective story – in which his opium-addicted uncle probably had a hand – was never explained.
b. Read: ‘lig’ (lie).
4. Jan Vermeer of Delft. Like E.J.T. Thoré (under the pseudonym W. Bürger) in his Musées de la Hollande (1860) and many of his contemporaries, Van Gogh consistently referred to this artist as ‘Van der Meer’.
c. Means: ‘aangenaam, vriendelijk’ (kind, friendly).
5. The parents received this letter on Saturday, 10 June, and Mr van Gogh wrote to Theo about it on 14 June, after he had been to visit Vincent (FR b2240). For the text, see letter 239, n. 7.