London, 30 April 1874

My dear Theo,
Many happy returns of the day.1 Do right and don’t look back,2 and things will turn out well.
I was glad to get your last letter. I sent you a photo a couple of days ago:

Young girl with a sword, Jacquet3

because I thought you’d like to have it.
Van Gorkom’s painting isn’t very dirty.4 (Between you and me, I didn’t see it, but anyway tell him I wrote that it wasn’t very dirty.)
How are Mauve and Jet Carbentus?5 Write to me with news of them.
It’s good that you visit  1r:2 the Haanebeeks.6
If I come to Holland, I’ll also come to The Hague for a day or two if possible, because The Hague is like a second home to me. (I’ll come and stay with you.)
I’d have liked to go on that walk to De Vink.7 I walk here as much as I can, but I’m very busy. It’s absolutely beautiful here (even though it’s in the city). There are lilacs and hawthorns and laburnums &c. blossoming in all the gardens, and the chestnut trees are magnificent.
If one truly loves nature one finds beauty everywhere. Yet I sometimes yearn so much for Holland, and especially Helvoirt.
I’m doing a lot of gardening and have sown sweet peas, poppies and reseda, now we just have to  1v:3 wait and see what comes of it.
I enjoy the walk from home to the office and in the evening from the office back home. It takes about three-quarters of an hour.
It’s wonderful to be finished so early here; we close at 6 o’clock and yet we work none the less because of it.
Give my regards to everyone I know at the Tersteegs’, Haanebeeks’ and Carbentuses’, and especially the Rooses’, also everyone at Uncle Pompe’s, because they’re going to Kampen,8 and Mr Bakhuyzen9 &c.
I wish you the best.


The apple trees &c. have blossomed beautifully here; it seems to me that everything is earlier here than in Holland.  1v:4
As soon as I know something more definite about my going home, I’ll write to you directly. I fear, however, that it will be around 4 weeks or so before it can happen. Write soon.


Br. 1990: 022 | CL: 16
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: London, Thursday, 30 April 1874

1. Theo was to turn 17 on 1 May.
2. Saying, meaning that someone who acts virtuously can have a clear conscience; cf. Luke 9:62.
3. The reproduction after the painting Girl holding a sword (1872) by Gustave Jean Jacquet was published by Goupil & Co. The photograph, Jeune fille tenant une épée, was preserved in Theo’s scrapbook (FR t*1488, 51). Ill. 1698 [1698]. Van Gogh sent the same photograph to his sister Lies for her birthday on 16 May (FR b2708).
4. Nothing is known about this painting, which supposedly needed cleaning, by the Dutch landscape painter Jacobus van Gorkom Jr.
5. Anton Mauve and Jet Carbentus had become engaged shortly before this; see letter 21.
6. Contact with respectable families was encouraged. Mr van Gogh was pleased with Theo’s reception at the Haanebeeks’: ‘We think it wonderful that you are now well and truly accepted by the Haanebeeks. Just do your best to be on as good a footing there as Vincent was. They are really such good and respectable people, and it’s also good for your further education to associate with such people’ (FR b2696, 21 April 1874).
7. De Vink is a small village near The Hague.
8. The couple Abraham Pompe and Elisabeth Hubertha van Gogh, a sister of Mr van Gogh, had three sons (all from Pompe’s first marriage to Maria Quirina Alida ’s Graeuwen): Jan, Willem Lodewijk and Jacobus Cornelius Matthias. When this letter was written, they were still living in The Hague, but their move to Kampen (on 9 June 1874) was imminent (GAK).
9. The Van Goghs were related to the Van de Sande Bakhuyzens. Hendrik van de Sande Bakhuyzen, the great-grandfather of Julius van de Sande Bakhuyzen, was married to Jannetje van Gogh. See exhib. cat. The Hague 1997, pp. 72-73. They stayed in touch with the Bakhuyzens, and in October and November 1874 Mr van Gogh encouraged Theo to visit them (FR b2723 and b2730).