The reason it is necessary to put a stop to these bickerings
is, first of all, that they begin to bear too close a
resemblance to the dispute between a certain pair of devout
preachers, who argued with so much ferocity over a difference
of opinion concerning the exact geographical location of the
road to salvation that at the very same moment and with the
very same gesture they threw their respective wigs into each
other's face. Indeed, the wigs would be appropriate - and -
how, with the best will in the world, could we go on, seeing
that we have just arrived at a critical point, and neither you
nor I possess the indispensable missile in question? -I am
therefore at my wits' end, and I deeply regret that we have
started something that we are unable to bring to the
above-mentioned triumphant end - quite worthy of the cause.
Our dispute has a decidedly ridiculous side, in my opinion,
and it is bound to get more and more so, for which reason I
won't go into the subject any further. It is too absurd.
Be sensible, and put a stop to it on your part too.
All the thoughts that occur to one's mind don't come
straight from one's conscience - whether your conscience
dictated your letters to you? - whether it was your duty to
write them? - what drivel is this! - laugh it off.
But since you thought it was your duty, since you
thought your conscience urged you to do it, I will let
the whole business with all its extra adornments go, and so be
The question remains as to whether you are thinking of
coming here to do a number of studies, and if so, approximately
when. Then I shall see to it that you can stay at my mother's
house as usual.
At this time, Vincent was 32 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Anthon van Rappard. Written 21 July 1885 in Nuenen. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number R55.
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