Letter 07/10/1888 - by Vincent van Gogh

Letter 07/10/1888 - by Vincent van Gogh
Courtesy of www.VincentVanGogh.org

My dear Theo,

I've just come back from a day at Montmajour, and my friend the second lieutenant kept me company. So the two of us explored the old garden and we stole some excellent figs there. If it had been bigger it would have made you think of Zola's Paradou,tall reeds, grape vines, ivy, fig trees, olive trees, pomegranate trees with fat flowers of the brightest orange, hundred-year-old cypresses, ash trees and willows, rock oaks. Half-demolished staircases, ruined Gothic windows, clumps of white rock covered in lichen, and pieces of collapsed wall scattered here and there in the undergrowth; I brought back another large drawing of it. Not of the garden, though. That makes 3 drawings; when I have half dozen, will send them.

Yesterday I went to Fontvieille to pay a visit to Boch and Macknight, but those gentlemen had left for a week for a short trip to Switzerland.

I think the heat is still doing me good, in spite of the mosquitoes and flies.

The cicadas - not those at home but like this,

you see them in Japanese albums. And golden and green Cantharides swarming on the olive trees. These cicadas (I think their name is cicada) sing at least as loudly as a frog.

I had the further thought that if you care to recall that I painted portraits of père Tanguy (which he still has),5 of mère Tanguy (which they sold), of their friend (it's true that I was paid 20 francs by him for the latter portrait), that I bought 250 francs worth of colours from Tanguy without a discount, on which he of course made a profit, that after all, I was no less his friend than he was mine, I have the most serious of reasons to doubt his right to demand money from me, which is actually settled with the study of mine that he still has,8 all the more so since there's the clearly expressed condition that he would be paid with the sale of a painting. Xanthippe, mère Tanguy and some other ladies have, by some strange freak of nature, brains of flintstone or gunflint. Certainly these ladies are much more harmful in the civilized society in which they move than the citizens bitten by rabid dogs who live at the Institut Pasteur. So père Tanguy would be right a thousand times over if he killed his lady.... but he doesn't do it, any more than Socrates.....