I have enclosed a photograph of The Huguenot; hang it in
your bedroom. You know the story: the awakening on the day
before St. Bartholomew's, a young girl, who knows what is going
to happen, forewarned her lover and insisted that he wear the
insignia of the Catholics, a white brassard around his arm; his
refusal because he feels that his Faith and his duty were
stronger than his love for his sweetheart.
I don't remember whether I've already sent you that poem by
Longfellow 1 which I'm enclosing a copy of now. It
has often given me pleasure and will do the same for you. I am
glad that we saw the pictures by Scheffer together. That
evening I went to see Mager 2, who boards with the
sexton of the Lutheran church, in a real old Dutch house; his
room is nice. We sat talking together a long time; he told me
about Menton and a Christmas he had celebrated there. Thanks
for coming this way yesterday. Let us have as few secrets from
each other as is possible. That is what brothers are for.
'It is not over yet,' you say. No, it could not be over yet.
Your heart will feel the need for confidence in itself; you will
be hesitating between two roads: she or my father. As far as I am
concerned, I believe that Father loves you more than she does - that
his love is more valuable.
Do go there, whenever it becomes too much for you.
A pile of futile tasks has given me a lot of work today; but
that is my duty; if one did not have it, very tenaciously have
the feeling for it, how would anybody be able to collect one's
thoughts at all? The feeling of duty sanctifies and unifies
everything, making one large duty out of the many little
Write me soon whether you arrived safely, and whether or not
the walk and journey were too much for you. I am anxious for a
letter from you, to hear also if you are going to Etten. A
Your loving brother, Vincent
This is perhaps a time when you feel the want of “a
Psalm tone from the past, and a plaint from the
And I seemed to hear in the stillness of the night
His voice so tender and so soft.
“The Light of the Stars.”
Nico Mager, at the time fellow employee in Blussé
and v. Braam's bookstore.
At this time, Vincent was 23 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 26 February 1877 in Dordrecht. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 086.
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