Arles, 19th April 1889
I have not written to you for some time, because I supposed that your
brother has informed you of his own situation. He is infinitely better, as you can
judge from his letters; sometimes it would seem that he has no trace of the trouble
that affected him so acutely. He had decided that he would leave the hospice after
he had found a suitable apartment. I looked for him and with him, and he was about
to sign with a proprietor, when all of a sudden he made me the confession that he
didn't have the courage at present to take possession of himself, and that it would
agree infinitely better with him, that it would be wiser for him to spend two or
three months in a nursing home.
He is entirely conscious of his condition and talks to me of what he has been through
and which he fears may return, with a candour and simplicity which is touching.
“I am not capable,” he told me the day before yesterday, “of
looking after myself and control myself; I feel quite different from what I used to be.”
In view of this there was no reason to look for an apartment and we have given up all
attempts in this respect. He has, therefore, requested me to
obtain the necessary information, in order that he may be
admitted somewhere and also to write to you in this sense.
Considering this decision, taken after mature deliberation,
I thought that, before turning to you, I would obtain some
information regarding a private institution outside the gates of Arles, at
Saint-Rémy, where it appears that the inmates are very well
treated. I send you the reply which I have received and the
prospectus that came with it.
I am, as always, at your entire service, and you can use me freely. I must
add that those who know your brother, notably the physicians, approve this decision and
consider it very wise, considering the state of isolation your brother would be in after
he leaves the hospice.
At present his furniture has been stored at a neighbours, to whom your brother
paid three month's rent for this purpose, 18 f. in all.
And now I will leave you to your reflections. Nothing can be done without your
direct intervention. You would not believe how much your brother is preoccupied and
grieved with the idea of giving you problems. “My brother, he told me, who has
always done so much for me! and now to create more cares for him!”
My best wishes to you. I cordially shake your hand. Salles
At this time, Vincent was 36 year old
Reverend Salles. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 19 April 1889 in Arles. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number to.
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