It was a delightful sensation to hear Gladwell's voice in
the hall while I sat working in my room upstairs, and to see
him enter a moment later, and to shake hands with him.
Yesterday we took a long walk through the principal streets and
past most of the churches; this morning we got up before five
o'clock to see the workmen enter the yard, and then we walked
to Zeeburg. We have been to the Trippenhuis twice, and he went
alone to Van der Hoop's; he was also at Uncle Cor's gallery
(but Uncle was out of town) and went with me to Mendes's. Now
we intend to go to Uncle Stricker's (for I am asked there for
dinner today, and will risk bringing him with me). I should
also like to go with him to Haarlem to see the pictures by
Frans Hals, and now he is going there and not to Antwerp as he
intended; he'll go to Belgium another time, and limit himself
to Holland now.
We also spent a great deal of time in my little study and
talked about many things, new and old. Once more as he sits
here beside me, I experience the same feeling that drew me to
him so often - as if he were a son of the same house and a
brother in faith because he loves the “man of sorrows,
and acquainted with grief” Who is our God and in Whose
teachings and resurrection we believe, Whose spirit we seek,
and Whose love we beg, that it may suffuse our entire being
throughout life and that nothing may ever separate us from it -
neither things present, nor things to come. The sorrowing unto
God will bring about in him what it has brought about in many
men - and is bringing about and shall bring about - that
never-to-be-lamented choice of the good part, which shall not
be taken away, and the one thing needful to choose; bringing
forth the fruits of repentance, worthiness of conversion. He is
a Christian and will become more and more so. This morning we
read together the story of Elijah by the brook Cherith and in
the house of the widow woman, for when we were fellow boarders
in Montmartre, we found that the barrel of meal did not waste,
nor the cruse of water fail; and yesterday evening, the parable
of the sower, and more.
Now he will spend some days with you and is looking forward
to seeing your little room and the prints you have.
He gave me Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, which is as great an
acquisition as Bossuet's Oraisons Funèbres, which I
bought very cheaply sometime ago, and a Latin edition of
Imitation by Thomas a Kempis which Vos gave me and which I hope
to be able to read in the original someday. He read several
bits here of Bungener, Esquiros, Lamennais, Souvestre,
Lamartine (Cromwell) and has enjoyed the lithographs after
Bosboom; we bought one from a Jew, and he has asked me to buy
some more for him when I get the chance.
I do hope you have a pleasant evening with him, and I
believe that the more you try to find in him, the more you will
We talked about many things, and the gist of it was: Many
people, arriving at the moment in life when they must make a
choice, have chosen for their part “the love of Christ
and poverty,” or rather, “give me neither poverty
or riches; feed me with food convenient for me.”
The time passed only too quickly for me, and I wished that
we might have been together longer; but that was impossible -
each of us must go his different way and continue to do
whatever comes to hand, according to his call. For my part, I
am thankful from the bottom of my heart that it has been given
me to see him again and to find in him still what first
attracted me. He told me that you would certainly go on that
business trip in at least four weeks, so I hope to see you
again, too. With all my heart I hope he will keep a pleasant
and good memory of his stay in Holland; it was brave of him to
carry out his plan in spite of objections.
Give my regards to the Roos family, have a pleasant evening
with Gladwell and imagine a firm handshake from
Your loving brother, Vincent
I suppose you have learned that Mrs. Richard is dead; it
must have been a fearful night.
Would it not be very desirable to know the Bible well and
thoroughly and lovingly?
At this time, Vincent was 24 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 7 September 1877 in Amsterdam. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 109.
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