To Theo van Gogh. Paris, Saturday, 19 February 1876.
My dear Theo,
Thanks for your last letter, and also for the catalogue that was in the last crate.
Have I already thanked you for ‘Andersen’s vertellingen’, if not, then I do so now.
I heard from home that you’ll be making the trip with the nouveautés in the spring, you’ll surely have nothing against that, it’s good experience and you’ll see lots of beautiful things during your trip. You’ll find Longfellow in the next crate. Gladwell was here yesterday evening – he comes every Friday – and we read some more of it. I haven’t read Hyperion yet, but have heard that it’s beautiful.
These last few days I’ve been reading a beautiful book by Eliot, stories, ‘Scenes of clerical life’. The last story, Janet’s repentance, I found especially moving. It’s the life of a curate who lives chiefly among the inhabitants of the dirty streets of a town. His study looked out over gardens with cabbage stalks &c. and over the red roofs and smoking chimneys of poor cottages. For his midday meal he usually had badly cooked mutton and watery potatoes. He died at about the age of 34, and was nursed during his long illness by a woman who had previously been given to drink but, through his words and by leaning on him, as it were, had got the better of herself and found peace for her soul. And at his funeral they read the chapter with the words ‘I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live’.
And now it’s already Saturday evening, the days fly by here, and the time of my departure will soon be here. Still no answer from Scarborough. Regards, and in thought a handshake, and ever,
Your loving brother.
Regards to everyone at the Rooses’, and also to Van Iterson, Jan and Piet.