Because Christine suffered from cramps, etc., I thought it
would be a good thing for her to go to Leyden once more to find
out exactly how things are. She has been there and has come
back already; thank God she is all right, but, as you know, in
March she had an operation, and has now been examined again.
She needs care and must continue to eat strengthening food and
also have some more baths if possible; but there are no
complications, and there is every chance she will pull
In March the professor could not tell exactly when she would
be confined, but he thought it would be the end of May or the
beginning of June. Now he says it will probably be late in
June. This time he asked her many questions about whom she was
living with, and from what he said about it, I now know for
sure what I had guessed - that she would die if she had to walk
the streets again, and when I met her this winter it was only
just in time to give her the help she needed.
So, as I wrote you, I wouldn't think of leaving her - under
the circumstances it would be a mean trick.
The doctor found her better than in March; the child is
alive and he has given her some instructions about food, etc.,
so that I do not have to act in the dark.
The baby's clothes are also ready, of course the very
simplest. I am not living in a castle in the air or in a dream,
but in plain reality, where one must act with firmness.
Under the circumstances I know no better way for either of
us than marrying her. As I wrote you, the kind tone of your
letter of May 13 was more than I expected. I had no illusions,
and expected that you would quite disapprove of my behaviour
and would withdraw your help. And even now I hardly dare hope
that your help will continue, because I know that in the eyes
of most people in your position such an act is a capital crime
punishable by a sort of banishment. So I am longing very much
for your next letter, also to hear if you have received the
drawings. But I have no illusions about it. Only I would not be
sincere if I said anything to you other than that it is my
decided intention to marry her as soon as possible. The reasons
you give are not strong enough to make me give it up, though
there is a great deal of truth in some of your remarks,
especially when considered by themselves.
And now, to tell you the truth, I really need some more
money this month,
Of course, since you tell me nothing's wrong as I imagined,
I will certainly finish the order for C. M.; I have already
made the studies. However, it will take me about three weeks to
get those six drawings, for in order to get six good ones, I
shall have to make more than six in addition to the work I have
already done. I do not know how much I shall get for them, but
I shall do my best, so I hope I shall get the money in
If there is some good in my behaviour toward Christine after
all, it is more to your credit than to mine, as I
was and am only the instrument - without your help I should
have been powerless.
The money you sent has helped me on with my drawing, and
moreover, up to now it has saved Christine's and the child's
lives. But in a sense it would be my fault if you took it as a
breach of confidence; I hope you won't.
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 29 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 16 May 1882 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 199.
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