van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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 57 letters relate to feelings - ambition...Excerpt length: shorter longer  
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(c. 4 April 1876)
... Dear Theo, On the morning before I left Paris, I received a letter from a schoolmaster in Ramsgate. He proposed that I go there for a month (without salary). At the end of that time he will decide whether I am fit for the position. You can imagine how happy I am to have found something! I will have in any event board and lodging free. Yesterday I went with Father to Brussels; we found Uncle Hein in a very sad state. On the train Father and I spoke much about pictures, including the Rembrandts at the Louvre and the portrait of “Burgomaster Six” and particularly about Michel. Wouldn't there be a chance for Father to see that book about Michel? If the opportunity arises, don't forget it. I am very happy to have the chance to see you before I leave, and Liesbeth too. As you know, Ramsgate is a little town by the sea. I saw somewhere that there were 12,000 inhabitants, but I don't know any more about it. And now till Saturday, a good journey...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(17 June 1876)
... have pity on me”. If I find work it will tend towards a position between clergyman and missionary in the suburbs of London, mainly to the working class population. Don't breathe a word to anyone about this new idea, Theo. My salary at Mr. Stokes's is probably very small, just enough for room and board, then a few hours of freedom to give particular lessons; if there is no free time to spare, I earn all in all eight pounds per year. I continue with my story. I stayed one night with Mr. Reid, the following night with Mr. Gladwell, where they showed great gentleness toward me. Mr. Gladwell kissed me goodnight that evening and it did me good; may it be given to me in the future to prove my friendship for his son now and then. I wanted to go on to Welwyn that very evening, but they kept me back literally by force because of the pouring rain. However, when it began to let up a little about four o'clock in the morning, I set off for Welwyn. First a long walk...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(5 July 1876)
... - at present this is not the case). Lately it has seemed to me that there are no professions in the world other than those of schoolmaster and clergyman, with all that lies between these two - such as missionary, especially a London missionary, etc. I think it must be a peculiar profession to be a London missionary; one has to go around among the labourers and the poor to preach the Bible, and as soon as one has some experience, talk with them, find foreigners who are looking for work or other persons who are in difficulties and try and help them, etc., etc. Last Sunday, I went to London two or three times to find out if there was a chance of becoming one of them, as I speak a number of languages and have mixed, especially in Paris and London, with people of the lower classes and foreigners. Being a foreigner myself, I thought I might be fit for it and might become increasingly so. However, one must be at least twenty-four years old, and at all events I shall have to...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(8 July 1876)
... to this day. Now I must ask you something. While in The Hague I had lessons from a Bible teacher, Hille, who then lived in the Bagijnestraat. He took great pains over me. Though I didn't show it, what he told me made an impression on me, and I should like to send him a word and, if possible, do him some small favour. Go and visit him if you have a moment and if you can find his address, and tell him that I have become a schoolmaster and am looking out for some other situation in connection with the church. He is a very simple man who, I think, has had many struggles in life; involuntarily I sometimes thought when looking at him: the end of that man will be peace. And give him the enclosed little drawing from me. How I should like to have a glimpse of Mauve's place; I can see distinctly what you described seeing that evening you were there. Write again soon, best wishes, believe me always, Your loving brother, Vincent Give my kind regards to Mr. Tersteeg...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(26 August 1876)
... something of the “old faith” in me. I am still far from being what I want to be, but with God's help I shall succeed. I want - to be bound to Christ with unbreakable bonds and to feel these bonds. To be sorrowful yet always rejoicing. To live in and for Christ, to be one of the poor of His Kingdom, steeped in the leaven, filled with His spirit, impelled by His Love, reposing in the Father with the repose of which I wrote to you in my last letter. To become one who finds repose in Him alone, who desires nothing but Him on earth, and who abides in the Love of God and Christ, in whom we are fervently bound to one another. Thanks for your postcard. Mr. Jones has not yet decided what he will do. My compliments to all who may ask after me, a handshake from Your loving brother, Vincent One word more. I have just been telling the story of John and Theogenes, first in the dormitory, then in the upper room where there are four more; I told it in the dark, and they...

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