To Theo van Gogh. Isleworth, Saturday, 8 July 1876.
My dear Theo,
Your letter and the prints came as a wonderful surprise this morning while I was weeding the potatoes in the garden. I thank you; the two engravings, Christus Consolator and Remunerator, are already hanging above my reading-desk in my room. God is just, so He will use persuasion to bring those who stray back to the straight path, that’s what you were thinking of when you wrote, may it come to pass. I’m straying in many ways, but there’s still hope. Don’t worry about your wanton life, as you call it, just go quietly on your way. You’re purer than I, and will probably get there sooner and better.
Don’t have too great illusions about the freedom I have; I have my bonds of various kinds, humiliating bonds some of them, and this will only get worse with time; but the words inscribed above Christus Consolator, ‘He is come to preach deliverance to the captives’, are still true today.
Now I have a request to make of you. Back then in The Hague I went to a catechist, Hillen, who was living in Bagijnestraat at the time. He took great pains over me and, although I didn’t show it, what he said made an impression on me, and I have a mind to write a word or two to him, perhaps it would give him pleasure.
Go and find him if you have the time and can discover his address, and tell him that I’ve become a schoolmaster and, who knows, may later find some kind of situation connected with the church. He’s a very modest man, one who has struggled a lot, I believe; sometimes when I went to see him and took a look at him I couldn’t help thinking that the end of that man will be peace.
And give him the enclosed drawing6 for me.
How much I’d like to look in on Mauve sometime, what you describe, what you saw the evening you were there, I can picture clearly, as it were. Do write again soon, I wish you well, and believe me
Your most loving brother
Please give my regards to Mr Tersteeg and his wife and Betsy, and to everyone at the Rooses’, and anyone else you might see. Don’t tell them about me, though. Tell Jan and Piet I bid them good-day as well. As you see, I’ve ended up at the other school8 after all, herewith two prospectuses. If you can recommend the school to anyone wishing to send their boys to England, then do so.