Etten, 4 April 1876.
We’re happy that things are going well for you, and hope that the fine weather and new greenery are making your trip pleasant, but more than anything we wish you much success and are curious to hear about it. Vincent arrived home safe and sound on Saturday, we were glad he was here, and you can imagine how delighted we were to hear that on his last morning in Paris he was given the prospect of something. He’ll probably tell you about it; it’s the confirmation of the text for the day for his birthday.1 We can but hope, it’s certainly a long way off – but surely it’s pleasant to be by the sea, may he fare well, it should be possible. It’s wonderful that you’ll be seeing each other, and also Lies, who’s coming on Thursday. We’re awfully sorry that you didn’t see Aunt Mina, and we didn’t even hear how Vos is. Don’t you think it very sad, poor Kee and Uncle and Aunt, maybe the good weather will do some good.2 Vincent brought along
1v:2 a lot of beautiful things to show us. Yesterday he and Pa went to Brussels. Pa is in the garden house even before the confirmation class, it’s going to be very charming in the garden. And now I’ll say goodbye and hope that you’ll still be coming on Saturday evening. Cor3 is taking piano lessons. It’s quite a task in the beginning. Goodbye, dearest Theo! Have a good trip – until Saturday. Ever:
Yours, your loving
[Continued by Vincent van Gogh]
My dear Theo,
On the morning before my departure from Paris4 I received a letter from a teacher in Ramsgate5 who suggested that I come there for a month (without pay) in order to see whether he can use me at the end of that time.
You can imagine that I’m glad to have found something. I’ll receive free board and lodging in any case.
Yesterday I went with Pa to Brussels, Uncle Hein was really in a very sad state.6
In the train Pa and I talked a lot about paintings, including the paintings by Rembrandt in the Louvre7 and the portrait of Burgomaster Six,8
1v:3 and also especially about Michel. Won’t there be a possibility for Pa to see that book about Michel?9 Think about it if the opportunity arises.
I’m so glad that I’ll see you, and Lies too, before my departure.10
Ramsgate, as you know, is a seaside resort. I saw in a book that it has 12,000 inhabitants, but don’t know any more about it than that.
And now, until Saturday. Have a safe trip, ever
Your loving brother
Gladwell brought me to the train last Friday evening. On my birthday11 he came in the morning at half past six already, and brought a very beautiful etching after Chauvel for me, an autumn landscape with a flock of sheep on a sandy road.12
[Continued by Theodorus van Gogh]
It was a pleasure for us to receive your letter. Have an enjoyable trip. You’re lucky to have fairly good weather. We’re curious to hear what has happened in the meantime, and will be delighted to see you if you come this way.
Yesterday I went with Vincent to Brussels and back in one day. We also went to the cemetery in Laken,13 where I also went with you!
1r:4 I thought of you so much. We’re glad that Vincent got something, and must wait and see what comes of it. May God guide him and you and all of us.14 Pain and disappointment also bring much that is good and comforting. The text for his birthday was, ‘The Lord will provide’.15
Good letters from the girls16 as well – Lies also speaks of you with so much warmth.
I wish you well, ever
Your most loving father
T. v. G.