My dear Theo,
I’ve just received your letter and the 50 francs enclosed, for which many thanks.
Enclosed are two small watercolours.1 As you know, when you were here you said that I should do my best to send you a drawing in the genre known as ‘saleable’. You must forgive me, however, for not knowing exactly when a drawing may or may not be classed in this genre. I believe I used to be able to see this, but now I do realize daily that I get it wrong.
Well, I hope that the small bench, even if not yet saleable, will show you that I have nothing against tackling subjects with something agreeable or pleasant about them, which are thus more likely to find buyers than things with a more sombre sentiment.
I’m adding another to the small bench as a pendant, also a part of the woods.
I drew the bench after a larger watercolour that I’m working on in which the tones are deeper, but I don’t know whether I’ll succeed in carrying it out or completing it. The other was done after a painted study.2
Now I’d very much like to hear from you whether in your view this little drawing is more or less in the spirit of what we discussed. I’m sending it to you because I wouldn’t like you to think that this wasn’t on my mind — but later I hope to send you something better.  1v:2
You recall that in my last letter I wrote that I was going to that potato market. I brought back many croquis then,3 it was extraordinarily interesting. The politeness of the populace of The Hague towards painters is, however, demonstrated by the fact that a fellow behind me, or probably at a window, suddenly spat a wad of tobacco onto my paper — life can be very trying at times.
Well, there’s no need to take it personally, because these people aren’t malicious, but they don’t understand anything about it, and probably think someone like me mad when they see me doing a drawing with great scratches and lines which they can make nothing of.
Recently I’ve also been busy drawing horses on the street4 — I would like to have a horse pose sometime. Yesterday I heard someone behind me say: well, what kind of a painter is that? — he’s drawing the horse’s backside instead of doing him from the front. I rather enjoyed that comment.
I love it so much, sketching on the street, and, as I wrote in my last letter, I’m determined to achieve a certain standard in it.
Do you know an American periodical called Harper’s Monthly Magazine? – there are marvellous sketches in it. I don’t know it very well, I’ve only seen six months of it and have only 3 issues myself, but there are things in it I find astounding. Among them a glass-blower’s and an iron foundry, all kinds of scenes of factory work.5
As well as sketches of a Quaker town in the old days by Howard Pyle.6  1v:3
I’m full of new pleasure in things because I have fresh hope of myself being able to make something with some soul in it.
What you write about the money that you lent and didn’t get back is certainly a disaster. From this I still have to pay for paint and buy a new supply, so by 20 Sept. I’ll definitely be running short. But I’ll vary the work a little and manage to get by. But remember that something extra will of course help me make extra progress — more successfully than otherwise. A great deal is required and everything’s expensive. But in any event I’m doubly grateful to you, and count myself more fortunate than many that things are as they are with the money, and I assure you I’m doing my best to make sure I make progress with it.
Today I’ll go to the ordinary Monday market again about the time they’re taking down the stalls to see if there’s something to sketch.
Adieu, good luck with everything. Do write again soon, and remember that I always greatly enjoy descriptions like the one of Montmartre.  1r:4
There’s so much paint around that it has even got onto this letter7 — I’m working on the big watercolour of the bench. I hope it comes off, but the great problem is to retain detail with deep tone, and clarity is extremely difficult. Adieu again, a handshake in thought, and believe me

Ever yours,

I thank you for sending while you yourself are so hard pressed.
I need it twice as badly, because the autumn goes so quickly and it’s the finest season to work in.
 2r:5  3r:6


Br. 1990: 263 | CL: 230
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: The Hague, Monday, 11 September 1882

1. Four people on a bench (F - / JH 195) and Three people on a bench (F 1039 / JH 196). There is also a drawing of the first subject with the inscription ‘Bezuidenhout’ (F 952 / JH 194). For Bezuidenhout, see letter 269, n. 3.
a. Means: ‘allicht’ (most probably).
2. The large watercolour is probably Four people and a baby on a bench (F 951 / JH 197 [2395]), which measures 25 x 37 cm. The painting on which Van Gogh based the second watercolour enclosed is not known.
3. For the description of the potato market, see letter 261. The only known depiction of this location is the watercolour Potato market (F 1091 / JH 252).
4. Studies of horses are not known, but cf. in this connection the hoofed animals in Donkey cart with boy and Scheveningen woman (F 1079 / JH 192) and Study of donkey carts (F 952 / JH 193).
[343] [344]
5. It may be inferred from the examples Van Gogh gives that in any case he knew the December 1880 and January 1881 issues of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, both ‘The European edition’. There the article by G.F. Muller, ‘The city of Pittsburgh’, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 62 (December 1880), no. 367 pp. 49-68 was accompanied by the following engravings by Walter Shirlaw: A night arrival (p. 49); View of Pittsburgh (p. 50); Block-house of Fort Duquesne (p. 51); From the Bell Tower (p. 52); View of Pittsburgh from the opposite heights (p. 53); From the hurricane deck (p. 54); At the lock (p. 55); Coke-burning (p. 56); A blast-furnace (p. 57); Steel-works – Puddling (p. 58) Ill. 1227 [1227]; Emptying the crucible (p. 59) Ill. 1943 [1943]; From the pulpit (p. 60) Ill. 1944 [1944]; Rolling steel plates (p. 61) Ill. 1945 [1945]; View corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street, Pittsburgh (p. 62); Window-glass blowers (p. 63) Ill. 1946 [1946]; Oil-refinery (p. 64); Pipe-making (p. 65) ill. 1947 [1947]; Stephen C. Foster and Grave of Stephen C. Foster (p. 66); The arsenal (p. 67) and Saturday evening at the variety (p. 68).
[345] [347] [350] [353] [1227] [1943] [1944] [1945] [1946] [1947] [354] [356] [357]
6. The article by Howard Pyle, ‘Old-time life in a Quaker town’, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 62 (January 1881), no. 368, pp. 178-190 is accompanied by the following prints by and after Pyle: Old Swedes church, Wilmington (p. 180) Ill. 1226 [1226]; Going to church (p. 183); At evening (p. 184); The umbrella – A curious present (p. 185); William Cobbett’s school (p. 188); The destruction of the sign (p. 189) Ill. 1948 [1948] and The British in Wilmington (p. 190). No clues have been found in the June-November 1880 or February-May 1881 issues, so it is impossible to establish which was the third issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine that Van Gogh had in his possession.
[1226] [1948]
7. There are indeed smears of dark green paint on the sheet.