van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Isleworth, 13 October 1876

Dear Mother and Theo,

Tomorrow the boys go home, and then I shall receive my money. I asked Mr. Jones to let me go to you those three days, my heart is so with you. It depends now on you both - if you say that I may come, Mr. Jones will let me go. Besides longing to sit at Theo's bedside,

Monday last, I was again in Richmond, and my subject was, “He has sent me to preach the Gospel to the poor”; but whoever wants to preach the Gospel must carry it in his own heart first. Oh! May I find it, for it is only the word spoken in earnestness and from the fullness of the heart that can bear fruit. Perhaps I shall go to London or Lewisham again one of these days.

Just now I gave a German lesson to Mr. Jones's daughters, and after the lesson I told them the story of Andersen's “The Snow Queen.”

If you can, let me know by the next mail if I may come; I was so happy over Mother's last letter.

One of these days I hope to visit Mr. Stokes's school. And I shall have to buy a pair of new boots to get myself ready for new wanderings.

The view from the window of your little room must be fine now - you see, I know it from long ago. We are having a great deal of rain here at present, in Holland I suppose it is the same. At Christmas I shall have a fortnight or three weeks to go to Holland; if Anna can go too, we might come together. How welcome is that Christmastime in winter. Oh! my boy, I look forward so much to the time when it will be cold here and I shall have to make my rounds at Turnham Green.

When I think of you as one “who comforts his mother, and who is worthy to be comforted by his mother,” I almost envy you. But try to get better soon. Yesterday, I asked Mr. Jones to let me go to Holland, but he would not allow it, and at last he said, “Write to your mother; if she approves, I will too.”

What beautiful poems are De Genestet's 1 “On the Mountains of Sorrow” and “When I was a Boy.”

A handshake for both of you and for the Roos family, and for Willem and any others you see whom I know. And let me hear soon from you again and believe me,

Your loving brother, Vincent

  1. A popular Dutch preacher-poet. Both poems quoted in full.

At this time, Vincent was 23 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 13 October 1876 in Isleworth. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 077.

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