van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Isleworth, 3 October 1876

Dear Theo,

Last night, I went on foot to Richmond; I thought of you all the time, it was a beautiful grey evening. You know that every Monday I go to the Methodist church at Richmond; yesterday I spoke a few words on the subject “ Nothing pleases me except Jesus, and everything pleases me in God.”

I would like to be closer to you. Oh! Why are we always at odds with each other? Why? I am enclosing a letter from the aunts at Zundert - you know that Aunt Bet had an accident. I wrote to them that you and I would walk over to Zundert at Christmas if possible.

I have copied a few of the psalms for you; perhaps you would like to read them one of these days. 1 Drop me a line as soon as you can.

I left here early at four o'clock in the morning. It was beautiful in the park here, with the avenues of dark elm trees, the wet road through it, and a grey rainy sky above it all; in the distance there was a thunderstorm. At daybreak I was in Hyde Park; the leaves were already falling from the trees and the Virginia creeper was beautifully red against the houses, and there was a fog. At seven o'clock I was in Kensington, and rested a little in a church where I used to go so many Sunday mornings.

In London I visited some friends and also Messrs. Goupil & Co.'s gallery, and saw there the drawings that Van Iterson had brought with him. It was delightful to see once more the Dutch towns and meadows in that way. That picture by Artz, the “Mill on the Canal,” I think very fine.

You also have a beautiful life before you, Theo, keep courage.

Has Van Iterson come back yet? I was so glad to see him again. He is bringing you The Wide, Wide World; read it one of these days - the first chapters especially are so fine, and so true and simple. And read now and then in Longfellow, for instance:

“I see the lights of the village, gleam through the rain and the mist,

and a feeling of sadness comes o'er me, that my soul cannot resist.” 2

And now, boy, a handshake for you and for Uncle Jan. Adieu, keep courage and get better quickly; write soon how you are, and send back the aunt's letter then. Poor Aunt Bet, we are such old friends. Compliments to Uncle Jan and to all the Roos family, from

Your loving brother, Vincent

  1. Psalms 23, 91 and 121; in addition, the hymns Daar is een stem gehoord (“A voice is heard”); “The light of stars; `t Hijgend het der jacht ontkomen (“As pants the hart,” etc.); all in full.

  2. Copied in full in the letter.

At this time, Vincent was 23 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 3 October 1876 in Isleworth. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 075.

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