After the Belgian evangelism committee failed to extend his contract as a lay preacher, Vincent moved to the village of Cuesmes, where he found lodging with the preacher Edouard Joseph Francq (1819–1902). It must have been a difficult time for Vincent, who had failed in his work once again, embarrassing and confusing himself and his family. Relations must have become strained, for Theo and Vincent stopped corresponding for nearly a year. Fascinated by the Borinage and the characters he saw around him, Vincent drew frequently:
Vincent received a paint box and sketchbook from his old boss Tersteeg in 1879, and in no time the sketchbook was half full. Little is known about Vincent's stay with the Francqs or its duration because of an absence of letters and other sources.