I for my part might say just as well that I shall stop
writing at the very moment you reply. The simplest thing is not
to write if it causes too much trouble and the inclination is
not always there.
But, however this may be, it is an excellent thing that you
are beginning to acquaint yourself with all the mischief brewed
by that villain Voltaire, and you will surely find that in
Candide Voltaire already had the impertinence to laugh at the
“highly serious life, which we ought only to use for, and
devote to, the best ends.” And I need not tell you that
this crime is something horrible in itself.
I cannot write very well about Mauve; I think of him every
day, but that's all. 1 It was a great shock to me;
but personally, as a human being, he may have been quite
different from what people said of him once in a while - that
is, more deeply engrossed in life itself than in art perhaps;
and I loved him as a human being. Now it is so hard for me to
imagine that those who penetrate to the core of life, who for
the rest judge themselves as if they were dealing with somebody
else, and who treat others as unceremoniously as though they
were taking themselves to task - I find it so hard to imagine
that such can cease to exist.
Now I know that it is hardly to be supposed that the white
potato and salad grubs which later change into cockchafers
should be able to form tenable ideas about their supernatural
existence in the hereafter. And that it would be premature of
them to enter upon supernatural researches for enlightenment
about this problem, seeing that the gardener or other persons
interested in salad and vegetables would crush them underfoot,
considering them harmful insects.
very cogent reason that the salad worms ought to eat salad
roots in the very interest of their higher development.
In the same way I think that a painter ought to paint
pictures; possibly something else may come after that.
You see that I have penetrated some greater distance into
the South - Besides,
what they want in pictures nowadays is a contrast of colours,
and these colours highly intensified and variegated, rather
than subdued gray tones. So for one reason or another I thought
I should do nobody harm if I went to the spot that attracted
Give my love to Mother, and for the time being there will
not be much chance of my going back to Holland. Goodbye,
[In another hand - almost certainly Wilhelmina's]
30 rue Cavalerie
Arles (Bouches du Rhône)
1. See letter 472 to Theo.
At this time, Vincent was 34 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Wilhelmina van Gogh. Written c. 28 February 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number W02.
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