[Letterhead: Goupil Paris]

Paris, 19 February 1876

My dear Theo,
Thanks for your last letter, and also for the catalogue that was in the last crate.
Have I already thanked you for ‘Andersen’s vertellingen’, if not, then I do so now.1
I heard from home that you’ll be making the trip with the nouveautés in the spring, you’ll surely have nothing against that, it’s good experience and you’ll see lots of beautiful things during your trip.2 You’ll find Longfellow in the next crate. Gladwell was here yesterday evening – he comes every Friday – and we read some more of it. I haven’t read Hyperion3 yet, but have heard that it’s beautiful.  1r:2
These last few days I’ve been reading a beautiful book by Eliot, 3 stories, ‘Scenes of clerical life’.4
The last story, Janet’s repentance, I found especially moving. It’s the life of a curate who lives chiefly among the inhabitants of the dirty streets of a town.5 His study looked out over gardens with cabbage stalks &c. and over the red roofs and smoking chimneys of poor cottages.6 For his midday meal he usually had badly cooked mutton and watery potatoes.7 He died at about the age of 34, and was nursed during his long illness by a woman who had previously been given to drink but, through his words and by leaning on him, as it were, had got the better of herself and found peace for her soul. And at his funeral they read the chapter with the words ‘I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live’.8
And now it’s already Saturday evening, the days  1v:3 fly by here, and the time of my departure will soon be here. Still no answer from Scarborough.9 Regards, and in thought a handshake, and ever,

Your loving brother.

Regards to everyone at the Rooses’, and also to Van Iterson, Jan and Piet.10


Br. 1990: 069 | CL: 55
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Paris, Saturday, 19 February 1876

1. In the previous letter, Vincent had thanked Theo twice for sending this book.
2. Theo travelled through the Netherlands from 29 March to 12 April 1876; it can be inferred from a handwritten list he made of the dozens of booksellers and art dealers he was intending to visit that he stopped off in at least 14 cities. He also made a note of the hotels he stayed in (FR b2071).
3. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion, a romance (1839). See Longfellow 1886-1891, vol. 8, pp. 7-285.
4. George Eliot, Scenes of clerical life (1857) contains the stories ‘The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton’, ‘Mr Gilfil’s Love Story’ and ‘Janet’s Repentance’. The first is about a clergyman who is not very popular in his village. Unfortunately, he does not appreciate the love and dedication of his wife until she is dead. The second story focuses on the enduring love of the young vicar Gilfil for an Italian girl. When the egoistic captain she fancies abandons her, she finally marries Mr Gilfil, but dies less than a year later. His love for her proves everlasting nonetheless.
5. In ‘Janet’s repentance’ the protagonist, Rev. Tryan, is talked about by his fellow villagers thus: ‘I wonder if there’s another man in the world who has been brought up as Mr Tryan has, that would choose to live in those small close rooms on the common, among heaps of dirty cottages, for the sake of being near the poor people’. George Eliot, Scenes of clerical life and Silas Marner. Edinburgh and London 1867, chapter 3, p. 204. Cf. also pp. 235-236.
6. Rev. Tryan’s study is described as follows: ‘Mr Tryan’s study was a very ugly little room indeed, with ... an ugly view of cottage roofs and cabbage-gardens from the window’, and: ‘that musty house, among dead cabbages and smoky cottages’ (chapter 11, p. 252; chapter 25, p. 319).
7. An eye witness had this to say about the food served to Rev. Tryan: ‘I called in one day when she [Mrs Wagstaff] was dishin’ up Mr Tryan’s dinner, an’ I could see the potatoes was as watery as watery’ (chapter 11, p. 256). The story makes no mention of his eating mutton.
8. Janet is so terrorized by her husband, Mr Dempster, that she takes to drink. Later she looks after Tryan, who finally dies of tuberculosis. The text recited at the funeral comes from John 11:25. Eliot quotes only the words ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’ (chapter 28, p. 329); Van Gogh added the rest of the verse.
9. The expected letter from Scarborough is perhaps the reply (alluded to in letter 69, l. 19) to Vincent’s application for a position.
10. Theo’s co-workers at Goupil’s; see letter 19, n. 11.