Isleworth, 8 July 1876
c.o. – Jones Esqre
Holme Court1

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,2 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’,3 are still true today.  1v:2
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.4 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.5
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 Piet7 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.


Br. 1990: 084 | CL: 71
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Isleworth, Saturday, 8 July 1876

1. Van Gogh had moved and had entered the employ of Thomas Slade-Jones, whose school ‘Holme Court’ (now ‘Garvin House’) was at 158 Twickenham Road; William Port Stokes’s school (‘Linkfield House’) was in the same street, at no. 183. See exhib. cat. London 1992, pp. 12-13 (with ill.).
2. For the engravings Christus Consolator [1773] and Christus Remunerator [1774], see letter 85, n. 7. Rhy. ps. 25:4, with the variant ‘overtuiging’ (persuasion) instead of ‘onderwijzing’ (teaching).
[1773] [1774]
3. Luke 4:18-19 (in KJ Luke 4:18); regarding the print, see letter 85, n. 7.
4. The Dutch Reformed (‘Nederlands-Hervormde’) catechist Johannes Hillen lived at Bagijnestraat 31 – in any case until some time in 1870 (GAH, Adresboeken 1870-1871); he later moved to Juffrouw Idastraat 20. ‘In der tijd’ (back then) refers to Van Gogh’s years in The Hague, from July 1869 until May 1873.
6. This drawing is no longer known.
7. Co-workers at Goupil’s; see letter 19, n. 11.
8. For a short time there was talk of Van Gogh’s teaching at the schools of both Stokes and Slade-Jones; on 6 July 1876, Mr van Gogh wrote to Theo: ‘Yesterday evening we received another letter from Vincent. Thank God! Better news. He made the acquaintance of another gentleman, a schoolmaster at a somewhat more distinguished school, who did appear to want him and would ask Mr Obach for a reference. Vincent meanwhile told this to Mr Stokes, who is now offering him 25 shillings a month, and paid him 1 month in advance. It’s not a lot of money, but encouraging nonetheless, and now, if Stokes gives him the time, Vincent can give 2 lessons a week at that other school as well – it’s a start. May God bless him! He was completely disheartened. He sent back the 25 guilders I sent him, and asked me to save it for travelling expenses at Christmas. I hasten to tell you this now, because I’m so very grateful for this, even though it’s only a modest start. I found it so terribly discouraging for him, earning nothing and not knowing if anyone took an interest in him – feeling that is something I always find so extremely difficult’ (FR b2757).