Ramsgate, 17 April 1876.

My dear Theo,
I arrived here safe and sound yesterday afternoon at 1 o’clock, and one of my first impressions was that the window of the not-very-large school looks out over the sea.
It’s a boarding school and there are 24 boys between the ages of 10 and 14.
Mr Stokes is out of town for a couple of days and so I haven’t seen His Honour yet, but he’s expected back this evening.
There’s another assistant teacher, 17 years old.
Yesterday evening and this morning we all took a walk by the sea. Herewith a bit of seaweed.1
The houses on the sea-front are mostly built of yellow brick in the style of those in Nassaulaan in The Hague (but taller), and have gardens full of cedars and other dark evergreen shrubs. There’s a harbour full of all kinds of ships, closed in by stone jetties running into the sea on which one can walk. And further out one sees the sea in its natural state, and that’s beautiful. Yesterday everything was grey.
I’m shortly going to unpack my trunks which have just been brought, and hang up some prints in my room. (The assistant teacher, 4 boys and I sleep in another house close by.)
It’s the holidays2 just now, so I haven’t had to give any lessons yet. I’m anxious to  1v:2 see Mr Stokes. I must go out with the boys, adieu. Ever

Your most loving brother


Br. 1990: 075 | CL: 61
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Ramsgate, Monday, 17 April 1876

1. Two sprigs of something looking like seaweed have survived; they are preserved with this letter (inv. no. b76 V/1962). In fact they are not seaweed. The larger is a moss animal, a bryozoan: Flustra foliacea (hornwrack); the smaller is a hydroid: Hydrallmania falcata, to which three minuscule mussels adhere. Ill. 1918 [1918]. Both were formerly considered zoophytes. See Gerhard C. Cadée, ‘De doos van Pandora. De zee(w)(d)ieren van Vincent van Gogh’, Gewina. Tijdschrift voor de Geschiedenis der Geneeskunde, Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Techniek 30 (2007), pp. 75-76.
2. The Easter break.