Thanks for your letter; I will make sure you find a note
from me in Amsterdam. I hope we shall see each other next
Sunday; it will be delightful to be together again.
Many congratulations on Willemein's birthday - what a nice
little girl she is getting to be. She will receive from home
The Wide, Wide World, and I am sending her Christmas at the
Pole by Bungener.
I am glad that you are going on a business trip soon, it
will be a nice change for you.
“I am so lonely and sad,” you say. “And
yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.”
It is good to think of Jesus in all places and
circumstances. How difficult the life of the peasants in
Brabant is, for instance, that of Aerssen 1; what is
the source of their strength? And those poor women, what
supports them in life? Don't you think it is what the artist
painted in his “Light of the World”?
You do not know how I am drawn to the Bible; I read it
daily, but I should like to know it by heart and to view life
in the light of that phrase, “Thy word is a light unto my
path and a lamp unto my feet” [sic, Ps. 119:105].
I hope and believe that my life will be changed somehow, and
that this longing for Him will be satisfied;
Let's not give in, but try to be patient and gentle. And do
not mind being eccentric; keep yourself to yourself, and
distinguish between good and evil for your own sake even if you
do not show it outwardly.
“Do not depart from life without having openly
demonstrated your love for Christ in some way or other,”
You have had an experience that can make you wise for a
whole lifetime, do not forget it. “Nourris-moi du pain de
mes larmes, vérité enseignez moi” [feed me
on the bread of my tears, truth teach me].
Hate sin; remember how Father prayed every morning,
“Deliver us from evil, especially from the evil of
sin,” and well he knows.
I am looking forward to Sunday, and hope you will have a
good journey. Work is always a good thing, “There is
something good in all labour.” I am busy every day until
late at night, but I am glad of it.
The storks are here already, but I have not heard any larks
yet. The sky is often stormy, and then one sees swarms of rooks
The photograph “Mater Dolorosa” which you sent
me is hanging in my room. Do you remember, it was always
hanging in Father's study at Zundert?
Well, Theo, have a good time, we will see each other soon. I
am eager to see the prints you write about; till Sunday,
à Dieu, a handshake from
Your loving brother, Vincent
A day labourer who also acted as gardener at the
parsonage in Zundert.
At this time, Vincent was 23 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 16 March 1877 in Dordrecht. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 088.
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