My dear Theo,
I’m really waiting for the money; I had hoped it might have been possible for you to send it a few days earlier.
I’ve written to you at length about how my intention of painting 50 or so heads means that I have to incur even more expenses than usual. And since you yourself gave cause by writing that you were suspicious of me, I’m put out when I think that it’s probably more due to this than to anything else that I’m sometimes embarrassed. I wouldn’t mind that I don’t sell, if the work itself could carry on at full speed anyway. Still, I do what I can, and I’m making progress with it after all.
You’ll also have to take back what you write to me about your suspiciousness.1
When — you’ll have to decide that for yourself — but I just warn you that the very worst misunderstandings come about because of suspicion.
For my part, I’m sometimes upset that your character seems to have set fast in a form which I believe could cause you disquiet later. But what’s the use of talking about it? What I mean is a family ailment, it seems to me.
I always imagine that in Zundert and for a few years afterwards there was generally a better atmosphere at home. Since then, I don’t feel it’s got any better. These days — But what I don’t know is whether that former — that it was better in Zundert — is just my imagination — it could well be.
But now, in any event, it’s certainly not that. Anyway. Regards.
Since this summer I can’t help always visualizing you with your lorgnette with dark lenses.
This doesn’t change a person very much, you’ll say.
Maybe so — but my impression is that you have perhaps, in a sense other than the literal one, acquired dark glasses in what you think and do. Suspicion, for instance.
On the other hand, though, I think that it’s something to know Paris well — that if, once there, you become a Parisian through and through — analytical, steely, and what they call shrewd — I don’t want to be so petty-minded as to condemn it. I’m not like that. Be a Parisian, remain one — that’s fine, if it’s what you want.
There are various things in the world that are great — the sea with the fishermen — the furrows and the peasants — the mines and the colliers.
And likewise I think the pavements of Paris and the people who know their Paris well are also great.
Now, though, you’re making a mistake if for your part you can’t understand that your suspicion of me is downright inappropriate. Most certainly I think differently, I feel differently, I act differently.
But in its context it has its reason for being.
And whereas you wrote to me in Drenthe, when I advised you to become a painter, that I was speaking of your affairs from a distance and I conceded as much, most certainly the reverse is also the case, namely that you can only guess at what I’m doing. So keep your suspicion to yourself, because it’s simply inappropriate. And it’s precisely in the good progress of my work that the means lie, whatever may happen about being more or less in sympathy with each other, of being at least harmless to each other, even where the ways lie in quite opposite directions.