van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Ramsgate, 12 May 1876

Dear Theo,

Thanks for your letter; I am also fond of “Tell me the old, old story.” I heard it sung for the first time one evening in Paris, in a little church where I often went. Number 12 is also very beautiful. I am sorry indeed that I did not hear Moody and Sankey when they were in London.

There is such a longing for religion among the people in the large cities. Many a worker in a factory or shop has had a strange, beautiful and pious youth. But city life sometimes removes “the early dew of morning.” Even so, the longing for “the old, old story” remains. What is at the bottom of the heart stays at the bottom of the heart. In one of his [sic] books Elliot [George Eliot] describes the life of factory workers, etc., who have formed a little community and hold religious services in a chapel in Lantern Yard, and he says of it, “It is the kingdom of God on earth, no more and no less.”

It is touching to see the thousands of people listening to the evangelists.

Your plan of giving Father and Mother “The Farewell” by Sadée is good, so that is settled. Willemien will be there on May 21.

This afternoon Mr. Reid sent me a catalogue of the exhibition in London. A firm handshake and congratulations on the birthdays of Lies and Cor and also on May 21. Kind regards to Roos, in haste,

Your loving brother, Vincent

At this time, Vincent was 23 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 12 May 1876 in Ramsgate. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 066.

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