Thanks for your last letter. From home I heard that you have
visited Mauve already; it must have been a pleasant day -
sometime I hope to hear the particulars from you.
Enclosed is a contribution to your collection, three
lithographs after Bosboom and two by J. Weissenbruch; I found
them this morning at a bookstall. Do you think the one after
Bosboom can be the church in Scheveningen? The other one is the
Great Church at Breda, and the third is after his picture at
the Great exhibition in Paris. Those two by Weissenbruch struck
me; perhaps you have them already, but maybe not. Keep right on
collecting such prints, and books too. I am making a collection
of Latin and Greek themes, also that of texts that report on
history, etc. I am at the moment copying one on the
Reformation, which is quite long.
The other day I met a young man who had just passed his
entrance examination for Leyden University. It is not easy - he
told me what they had asked him. But I must keep courage; with
God's help I will pass, and the other examinations too. Mendes
has given me hope that at the end of three months we shall have
accomplished what he had planned we should if everything goes
well. But Greek lessons in the heart of Amsterdam, in the heart
of the Jewish quarter, on a hot and stifling summer afternoon,
with the feeling that many difficult examinations await you,
arranged by very learned and shrewd professors - I can tell you
they can be more oppressive than the Brabant cornfields; which
are lovely on a day like today! But as Uncle Jan says, we must
always “push on.”
A few days ago two children fell into the water near the
Kattenburg Bridge. Uncle saw it and ordered out a boat from the
Makassar which was tied at the dock. They dragged the little
boy out. Two ship's doctors whom Uncle sent for and I
accompanied the men who carried the little boy to the
drugstore; every effort was made to revive the child, but in
vain. Meanwhile, the father, who is stoker at the yard,
recognized the little body, and they carried it home in a
blanket. They continued searching for an hour and a half,
thinking the little girl had also been drowned, but fortunately
that seems not to have been the case.
That evening when I went to see those people once more, it
was already dark in the house; the little body was lying so
still on a bed in the little parlour - he was such a pretty
Last Sunday morning I took a fine walk. First I went to
morning service - the Reverend Mr. Posthumus Meyes in the North
Church - then to Bicker's Island, where I walked along the dyke
by the Ij until it was church time again, and then to the
Island Church, where Uncle Stricker preached.
So time passes - and quickly, too - we are almost at the end
of the week. How are you, boy? Every day I think of you so very
often. May God help us in our struggle to keep straight; you
are right in associating with good artists - I, too, cling fast
to the memory of many of them.
It is written, “Conquer the evil with the good.”
We may strive after that, and God can help us. He can make the
days bearable for us with many good things, and He can spare us
too much self-reproach.
The afternoon of the accident when Uncle Jan ordered the
boat and the doctors to the rescue, I saw him in his
Before I go to work, I want to fill this sheet of paper.
Generally I get up at a very early hour; before the sun rises
over the naval yard and the labourers arrive, my window offers
me a magnificent spectacle, I wish you were here. Will it be
given me one day to work on a morning such as this to write a
sermon on these themes: “He makes the sun shine on the
wicked and the good,” or, “Awake, you who sleep,
and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee
light,” or “It is right to praise the Lord in the
early morning and it is good for the eyes to see the sun”
[sic. 1 Chron. 23:30; Eccles. 11:7]. I think the sun never
shines more beautifully than in a parsonage or in a church. It
is delightful to study the Bible so early in the morning.
If you have time and a stamp and paper, write me soon. Uncle
Jan sends you his compliments.
The evening in the dunes which you describe must have been
fine. In the gallery at Uncle Cor's the other day I saw
“The Evangels” by Bida [Painter of Eastern
subjects, pupil of Delacroix's]; how beautiful it is - it is
impossible to describe. Much of it reminds one of
With best wishes and a handshake in thought, believe me
Your loving brother, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 24 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 27 July 1877 in Amsterdam. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 103.
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