[Letter from Theo, on the other half of which is Vincent's
The Hague, 7 September 1875
Last spring Weehuizen died. I thought you knew. He died very
suddenly after a few days' illness. He died in hospital with
nobody present. I greatly regretted that I was not with him. I
had been on familiar terms with him of late. He had read
Michelet's L'Amour and often talked about it to me, and he
loved nature so much and sought the still sadness in it.
Last Sunday I heard a beautiful sermon. Jesus wept.
Thank you for the lithographs and the book by Michel you
promised me; I am very curious to see them.
I have taken your letter to the Borchers. They seem to be
good people, and I hope to see more of them. Today we received
the novelties, including that engraving after Rembrandt. It
looks fine, the figure of Jesus especially is beautiful, and
the whole is noble. Adieu, good luck.
Yours affectionately, Theo
The frames for the engravings for Mother's birthday cost 4
Paris, 8 September 1875
You didn't expect to get this letter back, did you?
No, my lad, that's not the way to look at it. Certainly
Weehuizen's death is sad, but sad in another way than you
Keep your eyes open, and try to be strong and brave. Are you
sure that Michelet's book was the right one for him?
Theo, I want to make a suggestion that may perhaps surprise
you. Do not read Michelet any longer or any other book
but the Bible till we meet again at Christmas, and do as I told
you: go out in the evening often, dropping in on Van Stockum,
Borchers and the like. I don't think you will regret it; you
will feel much freer once you start this regimen.
Beware of the words I underlined in your letter. There is
still a sadness, certainly, thank God, but I do not know
whether we are entitled to it yet. You notice I say we:
I, no more than you.
The other day Pa wrote me, “Sadness does no harm, but
makes us see things with a holier eye.” This is
the true “still sadness,” the pure gold, but we
have not got as far as that, not by a long shot. Let us hope
and pray we may get there, and believe me always
Your loving brother, Vincent
I have got a little bit further than you, and I see already
that, alas, the maxim “La jeunesse et l'adolescence ne
sont que vanité” [Youth and adolescence are
nothing but vanity] is nearly all true. So keep heart,
old fellow, I shake your hand warmly.
At this time, Vincent was 22 year old
Theo van Gogh/Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 7 September 1875 in Paris. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number T.
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