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Just another few words to cheer myself as well as you. I
advised you to dispose of your books, and advise it still. Be
sure to do it, it will give you peace of mind. But at the same
time be careful not to become narrow-minded, or afraid of
reading what is well written, quite the contrary, such writings
are a source of comfort in life.
`Que toutes les choses qui sont véritables, toutes les
choses qui sont honnêtes, toutes les choses qui sont
justes, tout les choses qui sont pures, toutes les choses qui
sont amiables, tout les choses qui sont de bonne
réputation, et où il y a quelque vertu, et qui
sont dignes de louange, que toutes ces choses occupent vos
pensées'. [Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things
are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are
pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of
good report; and if there be any virtue, and if there be any
praise, think on these things.]
Seek only for light and freedom and do not immerse yourself
too deeply in the worldly mire.
How I should like to have you here, to show you the
Luxembourg and the Louvre, etc., but I have the feeling that
you, too, will be coming here one day.
I have had quite a good letter from Anna, I am sending it on
to you, but please let me have it back when you have read
Father once wrote to me, “Do not forget the story of
Icarus, who wanted to fly to the sun, and having reached a
certain height lost his wings and fell into the sea.” You
may often feel that neither Anna nor I are what we hope to
become and that we still lag a long way behind Father and other
people, that we lack soundness and simplicity and sincerity.
One does not become simple and true overnight. But let
us persevere, and above all have patience. He who believes,
does not hasten. Still, there is a difference between our
desire to become Christians and that of Icarus to fly to the
To my mind, there
is nothing wrong with having a reasonably
strong body, so make sure you feed yourself properly, and if
you feel very hungry sometimes, or rather, have a good
appetite, then eat well. I assure you that that is what I do
myself often enough, and above all used to do.
Especially bread, in my opinion, my boy, and don't be too shy
about it. “Bread is the staff of life,” the English
say (although they like meat as well, on the whole far too
And now, write again soon and about everyday matters, too,
for a change. Take care of yourself and give my regards to
anyone who asks about me. Let us hope we see each other in a
month or two. I shake you warmly by the hand in my thoughts,
and am always
Your loving brother, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 22 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 14 October 1875 in Paris. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 043.
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