My dear Theo,
I’ve just received your letter and the 100 francs enclosed. And I leave tomorrow for Hoogeveen in Drenthe. Then on from there, and from there I’ll give you an address.
So don’t write any more to here in any event. And I would suggest you write a word to C.M. right away to inform him of my departure because, as you say yourself, there’s the possibility that he might write to me at this address. If he has already done so, it would be best if he asked at the post office for the letter to be returned for, not knowing exactly what my next address will be, I can only inform the post here or the landlord later on.
Friend Rappard is also travelling, and already has Drenthe behind him and is nearly on Terschelling. He wrote to me from Drenthe ‘the country here is very earnest in mood, the figures often made me think of studies by you. As for life here, one could certainly not live more cheaply anywhere else. And I think that the south-east corner (the area I have in mind) is the most original.’1  1v:2
Theo, I certainly have a feeling of melancholy on leaving, much more so than would have been the case had I been convinced that the woman would be energetic and that her good will wasn’t in doubt. Anyway, you know the gist from one thing and another. For my part I must press on or I myself will sink without getting her any further by that. Until she becomes more active of her own accord, namely more steadily instead of in short bursts, she’ll remain on the same inadequate spot, and even if she had 3 helpers in my place they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it unless she herself cooperated. But the children to whom one’s heart goes out? I couldn’t do everything for them, but if only the woman had been willing!
I shan’t go on moaning, though, for I must press on nonetheless.
Well, to be on the safe side I didn’t dare to take paint along, for over there I’ll soon have to pay for my things when they arrive, then lodgings and more travel expenses. But if we’re lucky enough to get something from C.M., I’ll have one or two things I’ve picked out sent there by parcel post. The sooner that can be done the better. So if you hear anything, write to me as soon as you know my address over there, and of course I agree with the proposed arrangement (regarding the partial reimbursement of the 100 francs); indeed, if you’re hard up, wait for a favourable moment before sending everything that might come from him.2
I, for one, think that C.M. might just do nothing at all.
In any event, brother, it was firm and well advised of you to send this immediately. For now I’ll be over there and able to get my bearings, and we  1v:3 can certainly economize ourselves even if no help comes. So thanks for this, and I believe it’ll prove to be a good step. My plan is to stay there until you come to Holland next year, for instance. I wouldn’t want to miss you then. But in that way I would just see all the seasons go by and have a general view of the character of things in that region.
I’ve equipped myself with an internal passport, valid for 12 months.3 With which I have the right to go where I will and to stay in one place for as long or as short as I please.
So I’m very glad that I can make progress, for in this way we help ourselves; over there I reckon 50 francs for board and lodging and the rest on the work, and that’s a big difference from what I was able to do here in the circumstances. So even if others won’t help, we won’t be idle.
Regards, for I still have a lot to arrange today — write a short letter to C.M. — and in the next few days you’ll receive a message with my address, by tomorrow evening if all goes well. Adieu, with a handshake.

Ever yours,

You wrote to me recently ‘perhaps your duty will induce you to behave differently or something’. That’s something I immediately thought about a great deal, and because my work so undoubtedly demands the step of going there, it’s my understanding that work is more directly duty than even the woman, and that the former mustn’t suffer for the sake of the latter. Which was different last year, since in my view I’m now exactly at the point of Drenthe. But one has divided feelings and would like to do both, which cannot be in the circumstances, both because of the money and, more than that, because she can’t be counted on.


Br. 1990: 387 | CL: 322
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: The Hague, Monday, 10 September 1883

1. The south-east corner of Drenthe was an unspoilt peat moor. For the work Van Rappard did on his journey to Drenthe and Terschelling, see exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1974, pp. 83-85, cat. nos. 97-106.
2. This somewhat cryptic passage may be paraphrased as follows. Uncle Cor had given an advance on the drawings sent to him. If he sold enough for Vincent to be able to share in the profits, he would send the money to Theo. Vincent would like to receive this extra income, but he agrees to an arrangement evidently proposed by Theo for the repayment of the advance (which thus meant a reduction in income). He would also understand if (‘indeed’) Theo were to keep any money received from Uncle Cor for himself for some time because of his financial difficulties. Whether the advance – probably 100 francs – was sent all at once or in two parts is not known.
3. At that time an internal passport was obligatory because the authorities wanted to have closer supervision of vagrants and vagabonds. The passport referred to the birth certificate, confirmed residency in a municipality and contained the holder’s description and signature.