Rare letters from the engraver to the doctor, a friend of the painters and of Van Gogh.
They concern, among other things, the placement of Bresdin's third daughter Rodolphine as a maid, worker or domestic servant, through the intermediary of Dr. GACHET. Bresdin and his family had just returned from four years of voluntary exile in Canada, where he was even poorer than before.
Paris 22 September. "Mr. Causin tells me that he hopes to see you soon. I will take this opportunity to give him something for you. Please accept it in memory of the past. [...] If you wish to see me when you pass by, I will be informed by Mr. Causin. Health, joy and prosperity"...
Monday 28 [October]. "I was pleasantly surprised to learn from Mr. Causin that he knew you and was a friend of yours; and that you on your side had kept a good memory of me as I had on my side so vivid. I always remember with pleasure the hour we spent together at dinner at your house with the late Bataille. Please be good enough to write me a little note in which you will give me both your news and an idea of the country you live in. [...] I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you on one of your trips to Paris, and perhaps I would go to see you if I knew one day that you would be free, what a good breath of the good wind of yesteryear I would take. My handshake worthy of Homeric times"... November 20. "I am very grateful for your good offices and your efforts to be useful to me, but I find myself in such a family position that I fear I will not be able to take advantage of your goodwill at least for the time being; for my wife and children have such a spirit of stubbornness and misinterpretation characterized by unbearable pride that can only be matched by their crass ignorance and unwillingness to listen to anything that might be truly beneficial to them. [...] The third girl had just left her boss for the purse; that was fine on its own, but she went back to his house at forty cents a day; and there is a commitment, not definitive, however, to leave her there for a year; he wanted a written document, but I did not give it; however, the mother, for the forty cents a day, will never want to let her go without some kind of compensation. Now you have not told me any of the conditions either for going to this lady of your acquaintance or for Poland. If, therefore, my dear friend, you were good enough to inform me of the conditions, stipulations and advantages which might result for the child or for us (or rather for her mother), for I do not want to profit in any way from the children [......], tell me the exact conditions, either for wages, commitments, duties to be fulfilled, maintenance, work clauses and conditions, duties to be fulfilled, in a word everything that concerns the employment to be fulfilled by the child, worker or servant or simple company, the way in which the wages would be paid; whether she would be maintained or not, whether the wages would be paid to her or sent to her parents, the figure of the wages. For how long, for I would not be angry if she escaped the influence of her mother and sisters for as long as possible, and if for Poland the thing were possible I would be delighted - she has already been to Canada, a country where the climate and habits are more or less the same, and she would be delighted with the thing... December 2nd. "I was afraid to make you angry by asking you too much about what you were proposing, I am afraid you would indeed be angry, which would make me all the more sorry as it was not at all in my mind, far from it. But if it was, forgive me, and see in this only the natural solicitude of a father when he has to part with his children, and send them so far away. So please put aside all resentment and answer me this [...] I did not believe that my little one would want to leave so easily and on the contrary she would be delighted, preferring it to the purse. So I would say to you that for the butterfly lady, whom you told me about, and for the flowers, none of them care to go for the moment. But for Poland, on the contrary, the 14 ½ year old girl would be delighted and only speaks of her departure if there is still time, and begs me to write to you for this place [...] The little one having spent 4 years in Canada and having already been placed in similar conditions of climate and other things she is not at all surprised and finds herself in the situation required."