Update + more fun with Vermeer—We’ve written the rest of the letter based on Beth’s opening line and made several the stars in a video valentine.
The paintings of Johannes Vermeer are tantalizing and elusive. We want to know what his models—often young, beautiful women—are thinking and feeling, but we can never know. We can only imagine.
As a multimedia writer at the Museum, my job is to help visitors use imagination to connect with art. I travel between past and present, learning and sharing what’s known and what’s not known about artworks, artists, and subjects. Imagination erases the distance between “older” works of art and our 21st-century lives.
Vermeer painted several women reading letters, which are famously enigmatic. Next week we’re meeting one of them firsthand: Woman in Blue Reading a Letter from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam arrives at the Getty Center on Saturday, February 16, for a six-week visit.
A young woman stands before a window. The light casts a glow across her face, and she looks enraptured. She grips the top of a letter with both hands, as if she has just eagerly unfolded it. Her eyes are downcast, her lips parted…In anticipation? Pleasure? Astonishment?
The first question that comes to my mind is: What does this letter say? Is it a love letter? I imagine it is; there’s a strong tradition in Dutch 17th-century painting of using letters to hint at women’s secret yearnings. If so, who is sending her this intimate missive? A traveling husband? A secret lover? A man, or perhaps a woman? Is it a letter that, as she reads further, will bring joy or heartache? Or both?
As we eagerly await the young woman’s arrival, we’ve been actively imagining what this letter might say, and how it might begin.
What do you imagine the first line of this letter might say? In celebration of the painting and your creativity, I’ll take on the challenge to write the rest of the letter based on one of your suggestions, and publish it here on The Iris, with special thanks to you.
Let’s get started. Write the first line of this letter and I’ll do my best to continue the story!
It is very wrong of me to imagine something dark and unhappy? If not (or even if so), I imagine this:
Dear madam, I hereby return the letter you sent to my husband Friday week.
Will it pain you or console you to know that I believe I can now endure this unfortunate distance between us, though daily there are moments, mere moments, when life seems futile, then I recall the vision of your gaze, and the taste of your lips? …
My Dearest Heart and my Moon, I have arrived, not unscathed nor unburdened of my guilt.
It pains me to be away from you – especially while you are round and soft with the child we have been awaiting – but when duty calls, one must answer with the fierceness and dedication of spirit befitting the country that will soon be home to the blood of his blood.
I can’t wait to see the Vermeer at the Getty!
It has been three long weeks since I last looked upon your face, and yet it feels like no time has passed since we held each other….
We regret to inform you that we are out of stock on the set of porringers you requested. However, Captain van Leeuwen’s ship should arrive within twenty days with new cargo.
Please accept our apologies, and present this letter during your next visit to receive an additional 15% discount on our selection of tankards, quarts, and trenchers.
Attentively yours, the number one trading company on the Westside,
Pieter van den Jurgens & sons.
V.D. Jurgens & Son? – is their competitor, S.T.D Blue Boy, willing to offer an unheard of 20% discount?
We are informed of thou’s condition by your renowned and esteemed family and are preparing rooms at the convent. Our convent nursery is a busy and happy one staffed by dedicated and trained women in the art of caring for newborns.
Thou will enjoy our lush gardens, our magnificant scenery and our 5 star accommodations will delight thou. Our trained staff will make thou’s stay a memorable one.
Our chefs are skilled at shooting and skinning so that our cuisine is fresh daily. Our tables are graced by handmade Dutch linens and finest tableware brought to us by the Dutch East India Company.
Upon the end of thou’s stay with us, thou will receive a complimentary pink or blue blanket with our convent logo.
Our staff looks forward to seeing you soon.
Our deepest gratitude for thou’s family generous contribution to our 5 star rated convent.
Well-played, sir. The love notes were getting old. Very original and funny!
What fun. Thank you for the great posts!
And please keep ’em coming! The Lady in Blue will be here soon enough …
All is lost. I will not return. I cannot return to our lives together. That was the past of joy, love and a future we shared. I will continue on my own as you must now find your own way. May God guide you and your child.
My dearest Hilde,
The crossing to London was difficult but the rough seas were calmed by my thoughts of you and the new life that awaits us upon my return.
My Catharina, My heart aches for you. You *must* leave the Netherlands as soon as possible and come to me in L.A.! Tell no one of our plan…. @oldmaninmilitarycostume
Assuring you of every courtesy, and with the suggestion of one of our patrons, conditions make it obligatory for us to take this pleasure and most faithfully beg for your hand.
My darling, let’s elope as soon as I’m back in Delft from Batavia and my stint with the Dutch East India Company is over. Only three more months. Three little months.
My Darling Sophia,
Your tender letter, carried by Horst, arrived only hours ago with the news that you are are glowing with our love child. I am overwrought with …
This must be my last letter to you; please put me from your mind.
Lonely days are gone! Captain Nook has just given me your letter. …
Father refuses to hear discussion of the situation and I am mad with grief. There must be some hope, somewhere, that this will not all lead to savage tragedy.
Never greater was my pain, for now I know you are his muse.. my love..
I know not how to begin to express the terror and uncertainty your love ignites in me. I am afraid I am to weak and undeserving of your strength and forgiving love. I’m sorry my dear, I am a coward . . .
Dearest Cousin Greetja,
At long last I can tell you, we safely arrived at the Fort de Goede Hoop, and never have I been so glad of a harbor, for we lost eight men in the crossing.
My Dearest Wife,
I promised I would write as soon as I arrived. My feet are here in the East Indies now, but my heart is still with you…
Even now, I can smell the blunt perfume of your skin, and I am holding you beyond that tiny corridor of time between us- you and ours.
I must warn you that the man you keep company with is strange indeed – he gave my daughter a single pearl earring for reasons unknown, and who knows what other errant jewelry may soon befall you.
I was going to take part in this contest, perhaps in 17th Century Dutch (I happen to be from Holland, but live in the US), but your first sentence is so original that it cannot be bettered. I hope you win!
My comment was intended for Ali, who wrote about the pearl earring.
Greetings, and the peace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be upon you. I just finished hanging up the laundry and it started to rain.
As my ship sails farther and farther from shore, the patchwork parts of you, widening, widening are with me still. What mysteries you have revealed. What mysteries still to come?
Your portrait that is being painted this moment will be on display in the year 2012 at a museum called the Getty that hasn’t been built yet.
First line: My Darling Lubchee, I adore you more than that assertive Saenkanter that you first served me at your father’s shop in Weert.
A jolly good read.
How about some background to this young girl’s story? I believe the color blue of her clothing was very intentional and not only for esthetic and artistic reasons. Blue is the color of purity, communication, and distance. It’s the color of the 5th chakra (our throat), and implies “speaking our truths”. Her lips are slightly open, as an indication perhaps of surprise. My take on this is she got news from someone, a male friend, that finally have built the courage, perhaps because of the distance, to confess his love for her.
Good luck with the letter, I am looking forward to read it!
It is nightfall here in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. I can hear the horse’s hooves ringing on the cobbled road and the tippstaff making his rounds. The rivers, Aa and Dommel, murmur in the distance and I think of the last time we two were together…
My Darling, why so blue?
My Dearest and My Joy:
I cannot wait to see your beautiful face, hold you in my arms, and tell how I love you.
I begin my day with thoughts of you and end it knowing we both stand in the light of the same moon,
dreaming of the time we will be together.
I will return before the tulips bloom.
My dearest daughter,
While my continued accession in Naval life brings the pleasures of a long career, I have serious concerns that another war with England looms as their privateers aggressively pursue and capture our merchant ships signaling that England is not satisfied with our trade concessions ending the last war, (along with the grievous death of your beloved brother), they want more and that means we must ready ourselves for another fight and more needless loss.
We regret to inform you…
I see where our little one is making his presence known. I do so wish that I could hold you in my arms once more and feel the stirring life within you. The ache in my heart is ever present, my love for you is eternal.
Oooh, beautiful and romantic!!!!
United East India Company
The Lord be praised, good wife van den Broek, your good husband did not perish last year after the devastation of our Formosa establishment and even now is sailing for the Netherlands!
Make that 1663!
Good God woman, as your physician it is my obligation to forewarn you to prepare for the birth of not one blessed child, nor two, but alas, three!
Please do not let the cat go outside.
My secret love,
How I have been tormented since our last meeting nearly nine months ago and imagine that you must have forgotten me by now.
The letter is not enough,I know,but what of that? It will surely seem enough to you,since your husband wrote it and meant so well.
I understand your father still refuses consent of your marriage, even given your current complicated state. Your father is merely jealous of any man who may secure both your affection and his estate. Yet, do not discount his love for you. That very love is our most powerful weapon.
This, my dear, is what you must do. Fall into a melancholy, so deep that your father will summon the doctor, who he has faithfully trusted all his life. Arrange the doctor to declare that there is nothing more to do and that you will surely die. The doctor will agree to this plan if you mention that your dear friend knows what he did last Christmas Eve in Paris. I will send you details about that night only if he refuses your request. In the meantime, do not concern yourself with that affair, my sweetness.
Now, as an act of desperation, your father will seek alternate assistance, even in the form of street charlatans. Remember, his love for you is our most powerful weapon. Whatever remedy he offers from these charlatans, take but do not fear their effect since charlatans rarely sell anything with potency. Then, instruct your lover to pose as one of these charlatans but with the request to examine you. Your father has never met your secret love, so he will fail to recognize your heart’s desire. In desperation, he will do as requested.
When your man arrives, he should declare that the patient has a severe case of depression and only a marriage will cheer her. Further, he should propose that he trick the patient into believing that he and she will be married. He must assure your father that this will rescue the patient from the claws of death.
Your father will agree to the proposed fake marriage, knowing that you had hoped to be wed as soon as possible, given your current complicated state. He will likely slap his own forehead and laugh aloud, realizing that this is exactly the love medicine that you, indeed, required all along. With hope and delight, your father will arrange a lavish wedding.
You will then be married and your father will sign a marriage contract which he will believe is fake—but it will not!
The problem is solved.
Your dearest friend and the namesake (I expect) of your future son,
Cool read! Great imagination 🙂
My dearest Wilhelmina!
The delight of my soul! The Lord has heard,and has had mercy on me. Your prayers have upheld me, and soon , very soon we will be reunited again….
Unfortunately your pregnancy is not a valid excuse from your Jury Duty summons.
I’ve loved reading all the romantic, heartbreaking, and clever first lines, but yours is the only one that produced a physical reaction in me — a jolt of surprise and delight! Thanks Mike!
Here is my first sentence to Ver Meer’s letter:
After more than a year at sea, I can barely contain my joy, knowing that soon we shall be swept away in our long-postponed hour of connubial bliss.
My dearest love,
Shall we have a cup of tea and a currant bun? Shall we dance beside the sea after work is done? Shall we walk together in the twilight grey? Shall we be best friends, shall we start today? You fill my thoughts these long days…
Mijn geliefde vrouw, ik weet dat onze lange scheiding heeft eindeloos leek, maar toen ik thuis uit Perzië volgende maand varen, zal ik u enkele nieuwe rassen van tulip lampen voor uw tuin, zowel ikzelf als voor uw visfond met omarmen.
My Dear Wife, I know that our long separation has seemed endless, but when I sail home from Persia next month, I will bring you several new varieties of tulip bulbs for your garden, as well as myself for your fond embrace.
We must stop using Google Translate for our letters: you just asked me to plant Tulip lamps in our garden and try to embrace me with your fishbroth…
A great lesson for my French students. Thanks for a teachable moment.
Absolutely hilarious! thanks
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogworts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31
Fine, I’ll go on the Maury Show and get a paternity test.
Dear Miss Burkhalter,
I am most regretful to decline the commission to paint your portrait.
Although your father is an old friend and you have grown into a most comely young woman, I have reached a stage where I paint only those who have reached a certain depth of maturity in life. Youth, I am afraid, is too shallow a field for my plow. Perhaps you should approach Johannes Vermeer. I have heard he is quite accomplished at the modern taste and can dazzle the eye with the mundane.
With you as his subject, he may produce a masterpiece.
With kindest regards,
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
When my sister Pam passed away unexpectedly last December at the young age of 55, I especially remembered the closeness we shared when we were pregnant and then raising our babies at the same time. I imagine the woman in blue reading:
It seems we shall have our babies together!
My dearest Catharina, I should return from Antwerp within a fortnight and all is well. I have received a commission from Senor Duarte to do a painting with a musical setting, featuring his prized Ruckers virginal of which he is most proud. He has also given me a generous advance we dearly need. I could not resist however, sending you this beautiful set of pearls that I purchased from a merchant recently returned from the Orient. I know how much you love pearls and they should go well with your earrings.
We regret to inform you that your father/brother/husband has been killed in action in:
i found you the most splendid present in your favorite shop in paris.
a pair of pearl earrings that are as magical as you eyes. i count the days
till i can gift them to you…
It brings a heavy heart and nothing but sadness and regret to report to you that your husband has died in from plague like symptoms.
My dear Helena,
Regarding our upcoming nuptials – we need to talk…
Every star that punctuates this bleak sky seems eager to expose us.
I imagine you in your blue dress…the one that mirrors the color of your eyes.
If you can elude your servant and husband, I will be waiting at the new canal in Utrecht one week from the date of this letter at the vespers bell. I eagerly await your two lips, whose sweetness makes our Dutch tulips bloom anew! Jan V.
When the King’s agent offered this voyage I knew I could not turn it down, for mine has ever been a life that sought fame and glory, but though I’ve often sailed with rough sailors, this is the first time I’ve done so after tearing myself away from she who has brought to my life a bliss I never knew possible; I now fear I have made a poor bargain.
“If I missed you any more, it would be my heart and not this bit of paper you would be holding in your hands right now, for it would surely have fled my body and flown to be with you.”
Congrats! You’re pregnant!
This letter is long overdue.
Coming to Brokeback on the 24th, Fishing?
This letter informs the family of Michiel de Ruyter that he resides as prisoner on the island of Jamaica having been captured on the 16th day of February in the year of our lord, 1663, in battle along the coast of St. Eustatius by Captain Henry Morgan privateering under Letters of Marque from English Commodore Christopher Mings and further informs you that a ransom of 10,000 pieces of eight must be paid to secure his release and passage home.
Let me tell you of the future.
My Dearest Wilhemena,
Please accept the truth of my confession. I cannot continue the fakery of untrue love any longer,. I do not love you and have never loved you. I just lusted for your body for sex. After we had declared that we were merely “Friends with Benefits”. Well, it was fun while it lasted. I had trusted that you were taking precautions but as it happens you are now great with child. My dear, I am so regretful that you must face a life as a single Mum, hopefully well supported by our liberal country on welfare and foodstamps.
I wish you and the child good fortune- however it appears.
I have not heard a word from you in a year, how is it you write to me now to say you are expecting and I am the father?
My dearest Berit,
I am certain that you shall be relieved as I am to know that after this long and wretched voyage I am safely landed in Cape Town, and I can only hope that with God speed this letter will be delivered to your hands sooner than any man can imagine is possible.
Our little joke has come to haunt us – the guild rewarded me the commission based on your drawings, which they of course believe to be mine.
Even violets are not as blue as you, and roses may well be red, but not redder than the blush of your cheeks I hope this letter will inspire.
I have your tulip. If you ever want to see it again you will meet me at the port with the money I have requested. Tell no one and come alone. I will be wearing a vermillion colored cape and have no teeth.
It seems a lifetime since boarding The Vergulde Bever, 9 May; the following is my fairest attempt to convey all that I am experiencing in New Amsterdam!
Dear Mevrouw van der Heeuven:
This notice is being sent to you in accordance with the requirements of the Dutch National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.
DAF has decided that a defect, which relates to motor vehicle safety, exists in certain 1662 through 1664 model year DAF Daffodil vehicles.
1. Dear Jane,
2. The night was moist!
3. Honey, are you still hungover as much as I am from the other night?
We’ll steal away tonight.
I am sending these pearls of the sea to you, my beloved wife. They signify my
purest thoughts of devotion and enduring love. It is my plan to return to you
in time for our sacred event. The sea is an unforgiving taskmaster, so I am
unable to predict the time of my arrival. Eternally, Pieter
DEAR MADAME VAN WIJK:
WE ARE SORRY TO INFORM YOU OF THE DEATH O F YOUR HUSBAND DUE TO……..
Of course children are an awful bother, darling, and they’ll certainly upset you decor, especially if they turn out to be girls. That’s why it’s so nice Mr. Vermeer is painting you now when he can use all his expensive blues. Tell me all when it’s over.
I know when you read this letter again years from now, I will only be a memory, a shame, a mistake but today while I am still…
My Dearest Daughter,
The police have him; he has confessed all.
The box with pearls that i have sent with this note, i hope it brings a smile to your lips.As you wear it tonight and the cool pearls caress your warm body, i would like you to think they are my hands.
min yndige pige, I count the hours until we can meet. I hope the gift of our love is doing well inside you. Pray for my speedy return and i hope to avoid capture. Until then no one must know.
Mexico sturrs the imagination and fills the pocketbook so just for you the Captain of the ship bearing this letter possesses two rare “Mexican Hairless” puppies for your enjoyment….
I believe the last few weeks of rapture with you prove I have found my soul mate; yet, before our relationship passes into what I hope will be matrimonial eternity, I must tell you my secret, so that our lives will be founded on honesty and openness.
By the time you have read this I will have settled the accounts; it’s time for you to prepare for your journey.
Greet the brand new day. The sun is up, the sky is blue, It’s beautiful and so are you…
Just as your eyes read these translucent pages before you, so too does the daylight read your soft frame; as we read the delft skies all last summer near the canals.
More I cannot wish you on this journey but I will offer bouquets of blessings in your name…
This is a few days late so I hope you still receive it!
“My darling Jantje,
I long to be with you and in your loving embrace again. With the help of the Mohawk the war with the Esopus is over, finally and hopefully forever. I miss you so very much, my dearest, and promise to send for you as soon as it is safe enough to do so. In the meantime wear the pearls I gave you at Christmastime in remembrance of me and my love for you. We will be together soon, dearest darling.
You have been most patient during the remodel. We look forward to your return and are confident you will approve of the enclosed plans. Safe travels.
Forgive me, but all is lost!
Upon arrival on the eastern shores of a distant continent and the small settlement of Niew Amsterdam, we ventured inland to dense forests only to be set upon by unclothed gents who stripped us of our gear, garb, and grub.
Alas, with no funds for my return, I must seek my fortune in this New World!
I hope our child will comfort you and ease your loss. Good luck!
My dear friend I must start be saying how sorry I am to ask if your were with child …. I am so so so sorry for such an inappropriate comment … I hope you recover soon ….. Please forgive my wrong assumption.
I give my hand to you with all my heart,I can’t wait to live my life with you,cant wait to start.You and I will never be apart-my dreams came true because of you!
Your question asked of me at lunch today has kept me from my duties all this long afternoon and I must see you this evening to deliver my answer in person.
I cherish every day we have spent together.
Goodbye again my love.
Dear Captain Alles, It is with a heavy heart and extreme discomfort that I pen this letter, but the information is of the utmost importance. It has come to my attention that your wife Helena has been involved in an affair of the heart and of the body with your second in command, Lieutenant Geelen. But that isn’t the most distressing news. I’ll come right to the point: the child she carries may not be yours.
My dearest sister, I have run off with Hans, I can’t live without him. You surely remember what that kind of passion and love is like, don’t you?
This is such a simple and brilliant use of content and social engagement. I am professor at Boston University College of Communication. Would love to connect and discuss some of what you are doing for social media cases shared with students. Can I get your email address? I am eboches at bu dot edu.
Please get in touch.
I look forward to being with you again. The soft touch of your cheek and the lovely smell of your skin is but a distant memory. May God keep you safe until then.
For my bar mitzvah I got a vasectomy.
Try someone else.
My Dearest Elizabeta, Once again they have told us that the war is almost over.
the letter reads:
I have to go, but I won’t let that come between us.
See, whilst thou weep’st, fair Chloe, see
The world in sympathy with thee.
My dearest love
I have left behind my heart housed in your delicate hands but……
Lieverd~Now that we are one, now that I am yours and you are mine, now that what is ours is ours, forgive what must now be.
My Dearest Neeltje
Your father and i are eagerly preparing for our visit on the occasion of you and Arjen’s first child….
My Dear Friend,
How I have missed talking with you.
I think of you and the little life inside of you everyday while i am training. I am working on getting home in time for her to be born.
My dearest lady, I have missed thy’n beauty for the longest of days of that thy most fair eyes and face have caused me to thy letter to you my dearest lady I shall return on the morrow or shortly more.
My dearest sister,
I can no longer be silent, and keep my concerns to myself. You are entirely oblivious to your husbands true whereabouts, and I cannot keep the truth from you any longer.
My dearest child,
I sincerely apologize for not contacting you in the past few years. I do not have the authority to reveal to you where I’ve been, but I need you to know that I am not gone. Since the first day I held your small body in my arms, you were a part of me.
I pains me to be away from you for so long, I am coming back soon to see you.
Dear Gwen, your husband has passed away in the war.
We are very sorry to inform you that your eldest son, William, was killed In battle today…
If you are reading this, you have done well. My untimely passing must have been troublesome for you, yet you surge through my clues with such clarity and ease. If I were to be graced with your presence this day, I would have been proud of you, my dearest.
How come you have not sent money or food to me at school?
My sweet Amanda,
I simply had to write you when I discovered the news. It seems you’re not the only one with child now. I have just found out that your little sister and her husband have successfully gotten pregnant with their first child. Yes thats right my sweet, you’re going to be an aunt and I a grandmother.
I have received your letter stating you are with child, and I am overwhelmingly joyed that we will finally be able to begin our lives together as a family at last!
I hear by inform you that our love is strong enough for us to stay forever. I know that i haven’t been there to be with you but its my job to fight for us and our country, I love you and I promise I’ll be home soon, my dear, Rosalina.
Im miss you my love, i miss you with all my heart my commanding officer has got me busy but i though of a good name for our baby if its a boy it could be broaden or if its a girl it could be Adeline. But i promise my love i will be there when you give birth to our child.
St Crissfoffel: 10 Novemb. ao 1664
Beminde huijsvrou salut. Ue aangenaame van 4: Julij is mijn welgeworden en alles daer uijt verstaan, waer in ick mijn seer verwonder dat ue soo oover mijn vrinden klaeght twelck ick weijnig estimeer.
My dearest wife,
I have seen many worlds but I miss mine back home with you. I miss the ripple of soft blue in you eyes, the soft flower touch of your skin, and the pale red kiss of your lips. Thinking of your laughter and smile brings a melody to my home sick heart.
If you are reading this I will be waiting for you in heaven and or in hell. I will always be with you in spirit and in mind, I love you Katerina. I hope you live a long and prosper life. Please don’t forget about me, please don’t cry, I will be with you always and forever.
Hey girl how you doing bet you still hot i bet you are i sure am, anyway when you gona give me dat money you ow me for that time i took you to mcdonalds if i dont get my money by next year i will put a burning bag of poop on your front door step
The war is not going so well, but I am missing you so. Avalannna my dear, I am starting to forget the way you look at me, through the storm and through the clouds I will always remember you. Avalanna, everything’s going to be alright. I have gotten your letter telling me that you are pregnant. I am so happy I cannot wait to get home to my baby and your love.
I have gotten hurt and I will be coming home early, I may not have a leg when I come home…it is a very slim chance, I do not know yet. Just remember Avalanna, to smile and remember that I love you, to the moon and back. Just don’t get worried my love, I will be back. I have to go now, I love you so much.
Love, Justin (smile my love)
The father of your child–my husband of more than 20 years–has died in the arms of his newest mistress.
It is a genuine letter, although it never reached its destination. In translation:
St Kitts, 10 November 1664. Beloved wife, greetings. Your pleasant [letter] of July 4th has reached me in good order and I comprehend everything therein, but it surprises me very much that you complain so much about my family, which I do not appreciate very much.”
I offer you my congratulations on your newly discovered pregnancy and equally so, I offer you my condolences in that my husband will never find out about the child.
My Dearest Love,
It seems an eternity has passed since our lips last parted.
Dear Sister, I received your letter of March 1 and have wept uncontrollably every day since.
I’m sure you did not–if ever–expect my sordid correspondence after that eventful night last December. Please forgive…
Opening line . . .
A year has passed my darling, and I am returning early to whatever joy awaits me.
Such as with the love and tenderness you offered unto me of yourself, your most recent gift of these most beautiful jewels leave me feeling not myself and once again questioning the very nature of your intentions, as well as my desires, and therefore will not be accepted.
My Dear “enter name here”
I write to you this letter of my heart, our first correspondence since last we met ,when I painted you in the pearl earrings so brightened by your beauty, long enough that by now you must surely be large with our child….
Good Day Dear Friend,
How are you and Families, hope they are alright, Well My Name is Mrs. Josephine Ajonuma, Secretary to the Director Foreign Debt Management & Settlement for the Bank of Nigeria,
your Payment files has been laying here for many months now and nobody has ever told you the truth, the reason why you have not received your fund with FGN.
My Dearest Engela,
I hope I may never have to tell our child how I lived the miracle of this day.
Your delicate fingers must now be so near the ink pulled by these tender fibers from this pen.
Madeline reads her letter one more time before she sends it off to her lover.
For this moment and forever, I will always care for you and will wish you only love, alas I have fallen for the affections of another and struggle to share this without your sweet face to guide my words.
Dear Miss Cuvellier:
Enclosed please find a check for your monthly stipend. Jacob and I are thrilled your pregnancy is coming along so well. Indeed we’re blessed to find a surrogate that is kind enough to endure nine months of discomfort to help us begin our family. Our friends are placing bets on whether this child looks like me or Jacob—only three months to go until we know! Fondly, Pierre
“Enclosed please find the placenta recipes that you requested.”
The war has ended and soon I will be home for the birth of our child….
Although our matrimony has been brief, I know the memory of our short time together will sustain us for eternity. I have been granted a vision from God to spread his word by travelling to Curacao with the Dutch West India Company. I have arrived here in good spirits. Tomorrow, I plan to begin construction of a church to evangelize to the savages. Please forgive me, but my heart now belongs to the Lord. Take care.
We are sorry to inform you that, because of your pre existing condition, we are canceling your health insurance.
My wayward child,
Last week we met your neighbor at church. She, good woman, informed us of your condition.
My one and only sister,
I crave your presence here at Court despite your ever-growing condition that keeps you stranded in the country…you will be most pleased to hear that my betrothal has ensued quite rapidly and we shall return to you for a country wedding late spring.
I heard the story on NPR this morning about this contest. The commentator suggests she was reading a love letter. As soon as I saw the painting, I disagreed.
She is standing, having just receiving the letter. Should it have been a love letter, I would think she would have been sitting.
She is apparently pregnant, and one would assume, married. As such, I believe it to be bad news she is receiving, being too shocked to sit.
“My dearest Lady, it is of the deepest regret that I must pen this letter to you, for I must tell you of the passing of your beloved husband.”
My dearest love,
I am in New Amsterdam, and your future could be here, too, with our little one.
My dearest child,
In just a few week I will finally get to know you after so many months of protecting you in my womb. The fear of not being a suited mother fir you is great but I promise you that I will fight for you forever. I will proudly stand for you against anyone who dare to call you the son of sin. Quite the opposite, you are the son of love, an unfortunate love that cannot be lived freely and happily in these days of religious oppression but will live forever hidden in my heart. You are and forever will be the symbol of this love.
(first line of the letter)
Wilhelminia Jean, the child you carry is not my son. Respectfully, Miguel Joaquiman.
Dearest Cousin, my sweet Leida,
It is only in certainty of fear for your reputation, that I finally write these words, knowing that the time has come to disclose the heaviest of burdens. .
When the tulip died
…for it was then I knew we would never meet again.
My dearest Catharina, I am so appreciative of your agreeing to pose for my painting, thereby saving me many skillings for a model. In grateful response I am hiring a maid to help out with the children with which we have been blessed. Your loving husband, Johannes
My dearest and despised, I had hoped you would never read these words.
It’s an box of letters on the table. She finds the one she was looking for – a letter from her mother, written days before she died.
My Darling Daughter,
My deepest wish is that I could witness the moment that you become a mother and know the joy that I have felt since the moment you were born.
Too many days have passed since
When your Dad pulled that shotgun down, I knew it was time to go…..
Lady in Blue….. Opening line
I have told them…I am charged with loving another
There is a way, my darling, a way only we will ever know. I will stand as close and as far as my easel, and they will wonder forever.
Though now I wander far east of Eden, my soul delights in memories of our love in the Garden years…
Your last letter describing your true feelings for me stilled my heart; however, my love, it arrived too late, I became engaged to your cousin last May.
To be haunted by that kiss,
I preface this by saying I see fear and worry in her lovely solemn face..andthat that she grips the letter with both hands…as tho’ holding on for dear life…………..that said……I read the letter as stating:………..”We are sorry to inform you that your husband, Captain Johnnanes Vermeer, has been lost at sea. ..With deep sorrow,; the Dutch West Indies Trading Comapny
What I have seen in this beautiful land, along with the precious gift you now carry, impels me to thank GOD every moment he’s given me to enjoy…..
My Dearest Anna,
I have been tormented by our separation and I long to see you again. I have heard that you are with child, and I beg that you will forgive me and allow me to be in your life once again. My only desire is to love and care for you and the blessing that God has bestowed upon us.
My Dearest Wife,
I want to begin by apologizing…
dear madam, i understand these few months have been difficult for you with the coming of your baby and the absence of you husband….
Hey I just met you
and this is crazy
but here’s my address
write to me maybe?
As you read this, I’m painting your face. No, stop looking around to find me, I’m trying to capture your surprised expression! Ah, that’s better. Yes, just keep looking here. And no, this is not creepy at all. Also, have you ever considered wearing a different style of dress? The one you have on right now is rather garish, and makes you look pregnant.
It seems to have been years sine our expedition left for the Shire of Indigo in search of turquoise rich ore. While sailing the rolling, cobalt seas I have been inconsolable. Even as I sit writing this, listening to the trill of my Cerulean Warbler, still I am melancholic. I can only reflect on our night of passion those months ago and resent the distance that grows between us as I realize, never before have I felt so… blue.
It is with great joy that I share privately, only with you, my intentions of bequeathing my jewels to your beautiful daughters, my grand daughters; and large sum of money to you and your lovely bride Catharina, my daughter.
I looked to the west today, where the paper thin clouds fanned out from the binding of the horizon and I could feel you there just beyond them.
I am sorry, but I was unable to procure the cumin you asked for, and the rhino your husband had arranged for transfer died during the passage back, not two days after leaving port.
“i miss you
but i haven’t met you yet…” http://youtu.be/ybDX_5hQ6So
Vermeer Letter: Lines 1 & 4 are more likely – because of her calm & interested expression.
1) Dear Margaretha,We depart today. The sea is calm. The wind favors eastward sailing. My crew is anxious to leave. No one can imagine when he will return, what stories he will tell, what he will have to show for our journey other than stories. And, you will have your own stories to tell me of your life with our new baby….
2) Dear Margaretha,By the time you read this letter I will be gone to work at sea. I don’t know what else to do. There is no work for me here. I was offered a position as a assistant to the quartermaster on a merchant ship. Perhaps once I am gone your family will see the need to help you with our baby. Maybe our friend Vermeer will pay you a little to be a model for one of his paintings. I hope that when I return life will be easier and I will be able to care for you and a family…….
3) Dear Margaretha,I am writing to inform you that you husband’s ship did not arrived in Portigual when expected. The ship left England on October 25. We have reports of a storm with high winds and heavy seas, which may have driven the ship far to the west off-course. But, the ship is now long overdue. Perhaps by the time this letter arrives we will know more of their where-bouts.
4) Dear Margaretha,This letter may find you, traveling by land, before my ship returns by sea. I have many stories to tell of people and places far away and strange. But none better than your stories of life at home and our new baby…
Dear Jan and Catharina,
I am sorry to write that Hendrijke has died.
My dearest Annabelle,
The rain has still to let up, but the thought of you brings me eternal sunshine.
My dear Ulrike,
Do not despair about our child’s future. I may just be a little Dutch boy now, but one day I will have a paint company of international renown. As soon as I can quit my job holding the water back from this dyke, I will make our family’s fortune.
I am sorry I have to leave you in this time of your deep mourning and sorrow, but I have to do what’s best for the both of us.
My love for you is unsurpassed, but by the depth of your beauty, for you have captured my soul and keep it harbored in your every heartbeat and breath; I live for your embrace.
I know there is an extremely slim chance that you will get this letter, but that is all i need. I hope that someday you will come back to the house we evacuated from and read what i have wrote for you.