GGA 5022r

Striking Passages

The letters from the Gezelle correspondence tell us more about the personality and temperament of those who wrote them. They deliver their message in loving and friendly words. Many of them show submissiveness towards their “Master”, others display their erudition or even arrogance. There are angry letters, serious letters or even funny ones filled with a fine sense of humour and irony. Read some striking passages from the correspondence by the teachers of the College of Saint Louis.

Guido Gezelle
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N66 Vandemaele Alois
Tielt 13.09.1862

Aloïs Vandemaele to Guido Gezelle

"Another idea stays with me, which I am far from giving up, that is to bring along with me a few English boys from over there to give them a christian education over here, and this would be the only motive for me to make this trip, if you would think that my presence in London would be necessary for this."

“People seem to be always leaving your place, are the English such wanderers?”
Michael Joseph Buckley to Guido Gezelle - Tielt 04.08.1864
Guido Gezelle
GGA2057 Gezelle's infamous French poem for Alberik Declerck
Moeskroen 18.01.1893

Jan Craeynest to Guido Gezelle

"Do I have to hit my head against the wall or cry like a child ; or will you? You know our teacher Mr. Declerck. Well: someone made verses on the occasion of his forthcoming ordination. Those verses are in French! And do you want to know who wrote them? Guess? You never will. It’s Mister Guido Gezelle. "

“I would objectively and subjectively hold Nolet de Brauwere's monocle in front of the eyes; it seems he dislikes that.”
Guido Gezelle to Leonard Lodewijk De Bo - Courtrai 07.1874
N66 Cardoen Honore
Bruges 06.10.1897

Honoré Cardoen to Guido Gezelle

"But love requests love in return. And what do I have for you! I believe that you are quite fond of smoking a good pipe of Wervik tobacco. If it would please you, I will most gladly send you some of this tobacco for a good smoke, on the first occasion."

“Do you know any sayings e.g. the one Who eats the king's geese will still be shitting feathers a hundred years later?”
Guido Gezelle to Leonard Lodewijk De Bo - Courtrai 07.1881
Guido Gezelle
GGA 4639 001r
Tielt 04.08.1864

Michael Joseph Buckley to Guido Gezelle

"I must help myself, and I must have a stout heart, and pray to God to aid me, as who else will? I have – neither scrip, nor stock, nor stone, nor talents, nor friends, father, mother, brother, nor sister, nor home, nor beauty, nor riches, but I have much patience, and hope, and I’ll trust that a willing labourer who comes to the living place at the eleventh hour – will not be rejected."

Read the full letter

“If the composer succeeds as well as the poet, we can expect something extraordinary.”
Hendrik Rommel to Guido Gezelle - Bruges 28.05.1894
John the baptist 16041 St. John the Baptist (Wikiart)
Kachtem 04.06.1897

Augustin Van Becelaere to Guido Gezelle

"There is such great lack of hymns to the great Saint John the Baptist. Couldn’t you indicate some hymn to me, Sir, or even better, wouldn’t you be willing to tune the strings of your harp in honour of Saint John?"

“Reverend Sir, forgive me if I pretentiously make remarks as if I were in my classroom.”
Pieter Baes to Guido Gezelle - Izegem 20.08.1882
Guido Gezelle
Salford (Manchester) 27.07.1860

Pieter Benoit to Guido Gezelle

"When you are among us you will very soon see that whatever good your are, under God's blessings, doing in bringing about a more christian education among the Belgian youths, the good you will do here will be a hundred fold greater."

Read the full letter

“Praised be the Lord, you are better now, but why didn’t you let us know this a bit sooner, or did you think it better to let us in fear in order to receive much more prayers from us?”
Edward Van Robays to Guido Gezelle - Bruges 01.1890
GGA040903 21
Roeselare 1876

Hugo Verriest to Guido Gezelle

"There was talk of you in praise and honor, and they were asking about your books and booklets, Mr. Fr. De Potter suggested to reprint Graveyard Flowers, and said, with both arms into the air, what he had already found in the collection, and Mr Claeys of St. Niklaas recited whole pages."

“Like a fish needs water to live a young lad needs good advice to pursue his life course well.”
Isidoor Fraeys to Guido Gezelle - Roeselare 01.03.1861
Guido Gezelle
SL784 275 Francis Weale Francis Weale
Tielt 04.05.1863

Aloïs Vandemaele to Guido Gezelle

"While little Frank (Weale) was nesting here in my room, all of a sudden it dawned to him that it had been your birthday on the first of May and he fancied to write you a little letter on that occasion."

“The more the merrier, the sooner the better, the weirder the worthier for Loquela.”
Guido Gezelle to Leonard Lodewijk De Bo - Courtrai 07.1881
GGA050903 16a
Ruiselede 08.1883

Leonard Lodewijk De Bo to Guido Gezelle

"All readers say "What a wonderful man, Loquela, is”; but - and I have already told you, in vain until now - would you believe that some people do not understand you well, because you rely too much on punctuation while others do not pay enough attention to it. In the old days people wrote without punctuation and it was understandable: it is not pleasant for you to use punctuation, and yet not to be finished. "

“Stir up the generous old Flemish blood, put some of the XIXth century steam into it – but don’t set it a-boiling over else you’ll scald your fingers”
Michael Buckley to Guido Gezelle - Tielt 04.08.1864
Guido Gezelle
N66 Van Robaeys Edward
Bruges 13.01.1885

Edward Van Robays to Guido Gezelle

"May I ask you to examine the words better now and then? I think that you are sometimes too light about words, and that we work less fluently than in the beginning. This is said freely here, among us, without blame, obviously."

“It would be such a great shame if you wouldn’t come here today. We have good and bad to talk about, turkey to eat and to discuss what’s happening in the world.”
Hugo Verriest to Guido Gezelle - Roeselare 1877
GGA 9779 Gr
Courtrai 07.05.1887

Guido Gezelle to Hendrik Rommel

"Thank you very much for your good and too honoring letter and am glad that you don’t think it undeserved that they granted me the title of Doctor in Louvain. I have endured very much already for the Flemish language, and this merely adds to it all: honores onera. However, I hadn’t realised that there is such a lack in Louvain that they have to make their arrows out of Westflemish wood."

“Don't you think those two sayings on paganism about that midwife are going to be too obscene to be read in the households?”
Edward Van Robays to Guido Gezelle - Bruges 02.1890
Guido Gezelle
AL AMVC Nolet de Brauwere van Steeland Nolet de Brauwere
Elverdinge 17.07.1874

Leonard Lodewijk De Bo to Guido Gezelle

"Thank you for your letter; it has done me much good, though I’m but little concerned about Dr. Nolet d. B. v. S. (read de Beeste van Stronteghem - the Beast of Shittingham), at first I thought it was one of these pets whom one unlearns incongruity by pushing their snout well into their own dirt, but now I see that it is one of those wild beasts that start stinking abominably when feeling caught; but I hold it with pliers and don’t let it shoot off (shit, yes)."

“I come to greet you with all regards and offer you my compliments from the bees who ask their king for a few tasty honeycombs.”
Cyriel Delaere to Guido Gezelle
GGA 5580r
Vichte 04.01.1886

Pieter Busschaert to Guido Gezelle

"Could you come and see me tomorrow (Tuesday, 5 January)? I would love it, even if it were only from eleven till half past two? But the longer, the better."

“Cookie tooth = desire to eat cookies. At the fair they say for example: You will to have to pull out your cookie tooth”
Alfons Dassonville to Guido Gezelle - Poperinge 06.10.1892
Guido Gezelle
GGA 6125r
Bruges 09.03.1889

Hendrik Rommel to Guido Gezelle

"I am rushing to send you my heartiest congratulations. In old times the Knights were the defenders of many good and decent things: you, Knight of the XIXth century; you have earned your title by serving the most precious things a man can love: his religion, his house and home and his language. May the new Knight fight on his glorious battlefield with good results for a long time."

“It’s nice to count on co-authors, were it not that there is so much to clean and comb.”
Edward Van Robays to Guido Gezelle - Bruges 23.02.1890
GGA9576 Fr English Seminary
Roeselare 07.11.1864

Bruno Van Hove to Guido Gezelle

"You would be the best person in the world if you would send me some of the decorations used in the English Seminary for Mgr. Faict’s solemn welcome on the 23rd."

“Enclosed you can find the menu, although not the food”
Rijkaart Carette to Guido Gezelle - Koolskamp 28.12.1887
Guido Gezelle
N66 Van Coillie Victor
Roeselare 19.03.1861

Victor Van Coillie to Guido Gezelle

"I am so fed up with this philology and all this other nonsense (apart from what happens outside the classroom) that I can no longer study this or that, my heart is bitten with pain, like something gnawed through by a constant cancer. If things won’t get better during the holidays and the summer I will dry out like a cut off branch. But let us leave it at that and write that it can be helped. Every cloud has a silver lining, and hope is a great comfort for the suffering."

“Do you know that Beehive is in the poor house? There’s no lack of money, but I want to tell you about the lack of pieces. It's like fighting death.”
Edward Van Robays to Guido Gezelle - Bruges 02.11.1890
GGA050903 13a
Bruges 26.11.187

Pieter Baes to Guido Gezelle

"By the Fireside has been established by you, Sir, we youngsters have been instigated by you and by reading your magazine to learn Flemish, to love it and to learn to write it, and now we continue to write in this magazine founded by you, without receiving the least sign of approval or disapproval or encouragement from you."

“What my tongue does not speak, my pen will not write.”
Pieter Baes to Guido Gezelle - Bruges 15.07.1874
Guido Gezelle
GGA1193 01
Courtrai 14.01.1879

Guido Gezelle to Leonard Lodewijk De Bo

New Year Card

I, the already old versefinder
who, on rhime from here and there
many a row, ripe and round
as fallen fruit have found
wish you freely, now that the year
on the new inventory
has advanced five to six posts,
good luck and lots of bliss!

“As for the problem of being sixty years old, only you can be the judge of it: but do not imagine that we will neither sleep nor eat.”
Hendrik Rommel to Guido Gezelle - Bruges 17.10.1890,
GGA040903 06
Bruges 01.1890

Edward Van Robays to Guido Gezelle

"Please, don’t insert too many corrections; people will easily understand that everybody has his peculiarities, even if these peculiarities were real flaws, at least if it is not too bad."

“Well then, it has been decided to assault that little gazette, and to prove every item in every issue of the Gazette of Tielt that The Voice is liberal.”
Felix De Grendele to Guido Gezelle - Ardooie 20.08.1864
Guido Gezelle
GGA 9460 F
Roeselare 08.1860

Bruno Van Hove to Guido Gezelle

"For God’s sake, do let me know how things are. Mr. Algar promised me that you would provide accommodation in London, and English money to exchange and that you would write me about how and what."

“I have the honor of sending you some words fresh from the Flemish fields”
Marcel Van Dromme to Guido Gezelle - Westouter 06.05.1890
GGA 9206 F
Roeselare 10.12.1863

Isidoor Hemeryck to Guido Gezelle

"During mass while Mr. Van Zieleghem was preaching, the flame of one candle struck against the chronogram on the altar and immediately the flowers caught fire too; fortunately we had a good firefighter; Isid. Fraeys jumped onto the altar and extinguished the fire in no time; after mass each of us set to work and when mass had to restart for the second time, all had been restored, the chronogram as well as the flowers, and the chapel shone again in all its splendor."

“Bold as a weasel, well yes, they are slurping the best eggs, I have come to ask you for a service.”
Julius Leroy to Guido Gezelle - Staden 26.03.1891
Guido Gezelle
Courtrai 07.1874

Guido Gezelle to Leonard Lodewijk De Bo

"I don’t understand how Nolet dares to attribute to us the pretension of imposing our Flemish to others; I at least have always wanted to write for the small number of us and I am indeed in the most true sense of the word a particularist; but doing or wanting to do what he attributes to us, is completely the opposite of being a particularist."

“Does the upper class still know Flemish nowadays? Which one of us does? Unless he studied it in particular? All of us are corrupted already, except you and others who really studied Flemish.”
Edward Van Robays to Guido Gezelle - Bruges 17.11.1885
N66 Craeynest Jan
Moeskroen 18.01.1893

Jan Craeynest to Guido Gezelle

"But for a Fleming to write texts in French without any necessity, that is way beyond boundaries. Formerly you would sing : “In French only if we have to”. Then you spoke true. But now! If it had been in German or in English, I would have said : one little piece for fun can do no harm. On the contrary : it will prove that Gezelle can write in more than just Flemish, that he is able to do more than many others."

“Moreover, I think that you should continue to make small masterpieces, in order that they, made for the Bishop, will be considered unimprovable by everyone for hundreds of years.”
Pieter Baes to Guido Gezelle - Izegem 09.04.1897
GGA040903 25
Roeselare 18.05.1861

Victor Van Coillie to Guido Gezelle

"I wrote a little verse about it that you will find just right for the Little Fox, but instead of using the old signature I would rather you replaced it by VC because some people have figured out who Quiedam is. I do not know how it came about. Also others have read that piece. So it could all be discovered and you can easily understand that if the major became aware of it, it would bring about hail and lightning and it would be on my head the thunder would fall"

“In Oostkamp they say, obnoxiously enough, You’re walking there like a spider that was pissed upon.”
Victor Goethals to Guido Gezelle - Bruges 13.11.1892
Guido Gezelle
GGA 9148 F
Nieuwpoort 22.03.1899

Cyriel Delaere to Guido Gezelle

"The sweet-tongued finder of words who enthused all of Flanders and even rigid Holland would have the opportunity to set ablaze all of West-Flanders for the sake of a vision corresponding entirely with his noble pursuits."

“I don't want to have different ideas about the Flemish than you.”
Edward Van Robays to Guido Gezelle - Bruges 28.05.1884

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