To Theo van Gogh. Ramsgate, Friday, 28 April 1876.
My dear Theo,
Many happy returns; my hearty congratulations on this day, may our love for one another only increase as we get older.
I’m so happy that we have so much in common, not only memories of the past but also that you’re working for the same firm I worked for until now, and therefore know so many people and places that I know too, and that you love nature and art so much.
You’ll have received that letter containing Anna’s advertisement in good order. There’s also an advertisement in the Daily News; now we can only hope that something will come of it.
Mr Stokes told me that he intends to move after the holidays – with the whole school, naturally – to a village on the Thames, around 3 hours from London. He would then furnish the school somewhat differently and perhaps expand it.
Now let me tell you about a walk we took yesterday. It was to an inlet of the sea, and the road to it led through the fields of young wheat and along hedgerows of hawthorn etc. When we got there we had on our left a high, steep wall of sand and stone, as high as a two-storey house, on top of which stood old, gnarled hawthorn bushes. Their black or grey, lichen-covered stems and branches had all been bent to the same side by the wind, also a few elder bushes.
The ground we walked on was completely covered with large grey stones, chalk and shells.
To the right the sea, as calm as a pond, reflecting the delicate grey sky where the sun was setting. It was ebb tide and the water was very low.
Thanks for your letter of yesterday, I think it very nice that Willem Valkis will be joining the branch. Give him my particular regards. I’d like to walk with you both sometime through the Bosjes5 to Scheveningen.
Have a pleasant day today, and give my regards to everyone who asks after me, and believe me
Your loving brother
I wish you well today, old boy, and begin a happy and blessed year. These are important years for us both, years on which much already depends. May everything turn out well. I’ll be glad when Anna has found something, but situations like the ones she is looking for are rather scarce. A sickly lady here who needed someone to look after her received 300 replies to her advertisement.
I shake your hand heartily in thought. Adieu!