Letter of Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo

My dear Theo,

Thanks for your letter, but I have had a very thin time of it these days, as my money ran out on Thursday, so it was a damnably long time till Monday noon. These four days I have lived mainly on 23 cups of coffee, with bread which I still have to pay for. It’s not your fault, it’s mine if it’s anyone’s. Because I was wild to see my pictures in frames, and I had ordered too many for my budget, seeing that the month’s rent and the charwoman also had to be paid. An even today is going to drain me dry, because I must also buy some canvas and prepare it myself…

I do not think I exaggerate about Gauguin’s portrait, nor about Gauguin himself… He has lived cheaply, yes, but he has got so ill by doing it that he can see no difference between a gay color and a dismal one…

Meantime forgive me too if I exceed my allowance; I shall work all the more, I promise you…

I  have been so hard up since Thursday that from Thursday to Monday I only had two meals; apart from those I had only bread and coffee and even that I had to drink on credit, and had to pay for today. So if you can, do not delay a minute.

A good handshake,

Ever yours, Vincent

(Arles, 1888) Letter 546 (October)

Vincent van Gogh, "Old Man in Sorrow," 1890.

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