I’d send you a couple of sketches if I had the time, but I’m very occupied with all kinds of things, though later you’ll receive some more.7 Should you not stay in the country, I’d be pleased to have your address. In any case, I’ll have more to write to you this winter. Do you mind if I keep Karl Robert, Le fusain,8 for a while longer? It’s because, working with charcoal now, I still need it so much, but if I go to The Hague I’ll see to it that I get one myself. It would surprise me very much if I weren’t to stay in Etten this winter — this is my plan at least, anyway not to go abroad. Because I’ve been rather fortunate since coming back here to Holland, not only in drawing but in other things as well.9 Anyway, I’ll carry on here for a while, I spent so many years abroad, in England as well as in France and Belgium, that it’s high time I stayed here for a while. You know what’s absolutely beautiful these days, the road to the station and to Leur with the old pollard willows, you have a sepia of it yourself. I can’t tell you how beautiful those trees are now. Made around 7 large studies of several of the trunks.12
I’m absolutely certain that if you were here now when the leaves are falling, even if only 1v:3 for a week, you would make something beautiful of it. If you feel like coming, it would give all of us here pleasure.
Accept my parents’ warm regards and a handshake in thought from me, and believe me
To Anthon van Rappard. Etten, Wednesday, 12 October 1881
Today I worked on old drawings from Etten, because I saw the pollard willows again in a similar leafless state here in the field, and what I had seen last year came to mind again.12
Sometimes I long so much to do landscape, just as one would for a long walk to refresh oneself, and in all of nature, in trees for instance, I see expression and a soul, as it were. A row of pollard willows sometimes resembles a procession of orphan men.
Young corn can have something ineffably pure and gentle about it that evokes an emotion like that aroused by the expression of a sleeping child, for example. 1r:4
The grass trodden down at the side of a road looks tired and dusty like the inhabitants of a poor quarter. After it had snowed recently I saw a group of Savoy cabbages that were freezing, and that reminded me of a group of women I had seen early in the morning at a water and fire cellar13 in their thin skirts and old shawls.