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I feel that I must enclose a little note for you. You will
spend delightful days at home, I almost envy you, my boy.
What beautiful autumn weather we are having. I think you
will see the sun rise in the morning. In which room are you
If you can get hold of the Imitation of Christ, you must
read it; it is a splendid book which gives much light.
It expresses so well - for he who wrote the book put it into
practice himself - how good it is to fight the Holy Strife for
duty, and the great joy gained by being charitable and by doing
one's duty well.
You must read this letter to Father and Mother. I have taken
such beautiful walks lately - they were such a relief after the
closeness of the first months here.
It is true that every day has its own evil, and its good,
too. But how difficult life must be if it is not strengthened
and comforted by faith, especially further on when the evil of
each day increases as far as worldly things are concerned. And
in Christ all worldly things may become better and, as it were,
It is a beautiful saying and happy are those who know it,
“Nothing pleaseth me but in Christ, and in Him all things
please me.” But it is not acquired so easily; still,
“seek and ye shall find.”
Next time when Father and Mother write, send me a word or
Monday evening I hope to go to Richmond again, and to choose
for my text the words: “But when he was yet a great way
off, his father saw him, and had compassion.” Theo, I
shall be unlucky if I cannot preach the Gospel, if my lot is
not to preach, if I have not given all my hopes and all my
trust to Christ. Well, misery is truly my lot, while what I
need now is a little courage in spite of everything.
I should have liked to have you with me last Thursday
evening in the little church at Turnham Green. I walked there
with the oldest boy in the school, and told him some of
Andersen's tales, including “The Story of a
And now we are slowly approaching winter, and many people
dread it. But it is pleasant at Christmastime, which is like
moss on the roofs and like the pine trees, the holly and ivy in
the snow! How I should like to meet Anna; I shall write to her
Today, one of the servants left; these women hardly have an
easy life here, and she couldn't stand it any longer; everyone,
rich or poor, strong or weak, has moments in which he can go no
further and when “all those things seem against
us,” when many things that we have built up tumble down.
But never despair, Elijah had to pray seven times, and David
had ashes on his head many times.
A new assistant has come to the school, for in the future I
shall work more at Turnham Green; he has never been away from
home before, and it will not be easy for him in the beginning.
And now a firm handshake in thought; it is already late, and I
am rather tired, best wishes and don't forget
Your most affectionate brother, Vincent.
At this time, Vincent was 23 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 10 November 1876 in Isleworth. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 080.
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