To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, mid-January 1873.
My dear Theo,
I heard from home that you arrived safe and sound in Brussels, and that your first impression was good. I understand completely how strange it will be in the beginning, but be of good heart, you’ll surely succeed. You must write to me soon about how things are going and how your boarding-house suits you. I hope that the latter will be all right. Pa wrote that you’re good friends with Schmidt. Bravo, I think he’s a fine fellow, and one who’ll be sure to show you the ropes. How pleasant those days at Christmas were, I think of them so often; they’ll also long be remembered by you, as they were also your last days at home. You must write to me in particular about what kind of paintings you see and what you find beautiful. I’m busy now at the beginning of the year. My new year began well, I was given a monthly rise of 10 guilders, so I now earn 50 guilders a month, and on top of that I received a 50-guilder bonus. Isn’t that wonderful? I now hope to be entirely self-supporting. I’m really very happy that you’re also part of this firm. It’s such a fine firm, the longer one is part of it the more enthusiastic one becomes. The beginning is perhaps more difficult than in other jobs, but keep your chin up and you’ll get along. Do ask Schmidt what the ‘Album Corot. lithographies par Emile Vernier’ costs. We’ve been asked about it in the shop, and I know it’s in stock in Brussels. The next time I write I’ll send you my portrait; I had it taken last Sunday. Have you been to the Palais Ducal yet?
Do go when you get the chance. How is Uncle Hein? I feel so sorry for him, and hope so much that he’ll get better. Give him and Aunt my warm regards. Did Uncle Cent stop off at Brussels? Well, old chap, keep well, all your acquaintances here send their regards and hope things will go well for you. Bid good-day to Schmidt and Eduard for me, and let me hear from you soon.
Adieu Your loving brother
You know that my address is Lange Beestenmarkt 32 or Maison Goupil & Cie, Plaats.