Ramsgate, 21 April 1876

My dear Theo,
Enclosed you’ll find a Post office Order for 10 shillings;1 be so good as to place the enclosed advertisement for Anna for that amount in some newspaper or other, you decide which one.2 If it’s not enough I’ll send you the rest, and if it’s too much, buy some photograph or other for Etten, for 21 May. But in any event please tell me how much you pay for the advertisement; I do want to have the address as it may be of further use.
I hope so much that Anna will find something; Willemien will be going home soon now.3
Mr Stokes didn’t come back until today; he’s a rather large man with a bald head and whiskers. The boys seem to respect him yet love him all the same; he was already playing marbles with them, only a couple of hours after he got back.
We go to the beach often; this morning I helped the boys build a sand-castle like those we made in the garden at Zundert.
How much I’d like you to be able to look through the school window. The house stands on a square (all the houses around it are the same, which is often the case here). In the middle of the square a  1v:2 large green, closed in by an iron fence and surrounded by lilac bushes. The boys play there during the midday break. The house where I have my room is on the same square.4
When I was in Rotterdam and saw that I’d have to wait there a long time, I very nearly came to The Hague, even went to the station. And yet I didn’t do it, I hope that later I’ll be able to see everyone and everything there again with a calmer eye.
Saying farewell at home on Good Friday is something I won’t forget. In the morning we went to Hoeven5 together to attend church and the Lord’s Supper,6 and Father said there: ‘Arise, let us go hence’.7 And in the afternoon we did arise, and through the small window I saw Pa and little brother8 in the road, watching the train leave. And Sunday afternoon I was in the church in Ramsgate and was struck by the words written there on the wall,9 which you’ll find in Anna’s letter (enclosed for you to read, but send it back).
Enclosed is the advertisement in question.10 Regards to everyone at the Rooses’ and to anyone else who might ask after me, also to Borchers, if you run into him. Do you still go there now and then?
I shake your hand in thought, and ever

Your loving brother

Do write soon.

A young lady, a clergyman’s daughter, having worked in England for some time, is looking for a situation as lady’s companion or nurse to a sickly lady.
Address: G.H.M.11 Post Office, Welwyn (Herts)12 (England).

Tell no one that you’re placing the advertisement. You can see from the letter that she’d prefer you didn’t.


Br. 1990: 076 | CL: 62
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Ramsgate, Friday, 21 April 1876

1. A postal order for 10 shillings.
2. Anna, who lived and worked in Welwyn, was looking for a new situation (FR b954, b2765 and b2769). See the text of the advertisement at the end of the letter.
3. Willemien had been staying with Anna at Welwyn since mid-August 1875; on 13 May 1876 she travelled back to her parents in Etten (FR b2356 and b2749).
4. Two drawings Van Gogh made of this place – Spencer Square – have survived; one was sent in letter 83. There is no proof that the other known drawing of the square, View of Royal Road, Ramsgate (F Juv. XXVI / JH -) was enclosed with the present letter, as assumed in earlier editions. See also cat. Amsterdam 1996, p. 61, cat. no. 9, fig. 9. Vincent might have enclosed it in a letter to his parents, because on 2 June 1876, Mrs van Gogh wrote to Theo: ‘Early in the week we received a letter from Vincent with a nice little drawing of his house, but he didn’t write about anything in particular, so we’re already looking forward to the next letter. We’ve asked him to tell us about everything, which we hope he’ll do’ (FR b2752).
A photograph of Spencer Square (of c. 1900) is to be found in exhib. cat. London 1992, p. 12.
5. Mr van Gogh regularly conducted divine service for the Protestant community in the nearby hamlet of Hoeven; cf. Kools 1990, p. 121.
6. Part of the Protestant service.
8. Vincent and Theo’s younger brother Cor, who was nearly nine.
10. Van Gogh wrote the text of the advertisement below his signature. The advertisement appeared a week later, in exactly the same words, in the Oprechte Haarlemsche Courant of 28 April 1876.
11. According to information supplied by the Postal Museum in Bath (UK), this abbreviation presumably stands for ‘General Holding Mail’.
12. Hertfordshire.