I long to write to you again, perhaps it will be a rather
long time before we see each other; at all events I hope we
shall be in Etten together at Christmas. It was Aunt Mina's
birthday last Sunday, and being there that evening, Uncle
Stricker asked me a few things about my work, and did not seem
to be dissatisfied…I feel that I have made some
Thursday I had a nice morning; Uncle Jan had gone to
Utrecht, and I had to be at Stricker's at seven o'clock because
Jan was going to Paris and I had promised to see him off. So I
got up early and saw the workmen arrive in the yard while the
sun was shining brightly. You would be intrigued by the sight -
that long line of black figures, big and small, first in the
narrow street where the sun just peeps in, and later in the
yard. - Before I went to Stricker's, I walked through
the Jewish quarter and along the Buitenkant, the Old
Teertuinen, Zeedyk, Warmoes Straat, and around the Oudezijds
Chapel and the Old and the South churches, through all kinds of
old streets with forges and coopers' shops, etc., and through
narrow alleys, like the Niezel, and canals with narrow bridges,
like those we saw that evening at Dordrecht. It was interesting
to watch the start of a new day's work there.
I have written a composition in which all the parables are
arranged in proper order, and the miracles, etc. I am doing the
same in English and French, and expect to be able to write it
later in Latin and Greek too. In the daytime I have to prepare
for Mendes, and so I am doing it late in the evening, or for
instance as today, deep in the night or early in the morning.
After being in England and France so long, it would not be
right if I did not acquire a thorough mastery of their
languages at last, or at least keep them up. It is written,
“Polissez-le sans cesse [sic] et le repolissez”
[Polish it (your work) all the time, and polish it again], and
also, “Travaillez, prenez de la peine” [Work, take
How are you, boy? Write soon if you can. You thought I was
right in returning the money, didn't you? You know that I would
have just loved to come and shake hands with you, and also to
see the exhibition, but for the present I do not go out of town
on Sundays, I must not.
This morning I had a talk with Mendes about M. Maris, and
showed him that lithograph of those three children, and also
“A Baptism,” and he understood them very well.
Mendes reminds me now and then of the “Imitation of Jesus
Christ,” by Ruyperez.
Have you heard anything about Carolien? I had to go to
Utrecht on the day of Hendrik's1 wedding reception;
I congratulated them for you, too. It was a very stylish
affair; the room was very beautifully decorated, and the bride
In Utrecht I saw the Cathedral and another old church, and
the university building, which reminds one of the cloisters
near Westminster Abbey. Goodbye, Theo, have a good time, my
compliments to the Roos family. Uncle Jan sends you his
regards, à Dieu, a handshake from
Your loving brother, Vincent
Uncle Jan van Gogh's son.
At this time, Vincent was 24 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 18 August 1877 in Amsterdam. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 106.
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