I just received your letter. As your letter crossed one of
mine, written in the same tone as the one you answered today,
you will see that I am speaking in a different mood than the
rash one which you suppose. Just because I say what I have to
say quietly, be it not in tone which is used every day (it is a
serious question here), I cannot avail myself of your kindness
in considering it said “in haste.”
That very idea of yours (that I should have spoken in haste,
and rashly) is sufficient proof to me that we have come to a
point where mere words won't do any good, and I think it better
to let this question rest
You say, you must speak about the financial side. So
Brother, know it well, I repeat what I said before about
your noble help without any alteration - and that “money
can be repaid, but not kindness such as
But this is what I want, and what you yourself will call
reasonable. I must take such measures as are necessary to have
freedom in disposing of what I receive.
I mean that I can only accept such money as I can spend as I
like, without having to ask anybody's opinion.
I would rather have 100 francs a month and the free use of
it, than 200 francs without that freedom.
And because of too great a difference in our ways of looking
at things, because of our understanding each other too little,
an agreement like the one between you and me is neither tenable
Supposing that your character as well as mine wants
to avoid disorderliness or outbreaks of violence after all; we
must part company quietly and collectedly - but decisively, in
such a way that neither you nor I can be reproached with
foolishness or recklessness.
I should like to receive the usual amount until March. That
will enable me to pay everything I have to pay, and to lay up a
supply of necessary things. This is the first measure to be
Last year, the year '83, was a hard, sad year for me, and
the end especially was - bitterly, bitterly sad.
Well, we will not speak of that any more.
After March we shall both be free. But if you could pay
Father some allowance for a time, as I do not want to be too
great a burden to him, that will be wise and well, I think.
However, this must be between Father and you. If necessary,
I shall then try and get a job. I do not even care what kind.
But bear in mind that, realizing the fact that obviously we
could not agree sufficiently if we continued together, I am
absolutely serious about trying not to accept favours from you
in the form of money any longer if they should not leave me
quite free in my concept of life.
You will say that you leave me free, yes - but there is a
certain restraint after all. And I prefer to have less from
somebody else, when after all I am not free in things that
are nobody's business but my own.
You must not infer from this that I want to have done with
you, on the contrary - you are an art dealer, very well, when I
make something which you think saleable, I should prefer to
sell it to you rather than to somebody else, but it must be an
arrangement which does not put me in a false position; but in
point of fact what I want is to sell in the literal
I thank you for your letter, I appreciate many things in it.
Goodbye, and believe me,
Yours sincerely, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 30 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 11 March 1884 in Nuenen. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 361.
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