van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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 3 letters relate to attitude - Mother...Excerpt length: shorter longer  
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(mid November 1885)
... received your letter while writing this. If necessary I am willing to go to Doctor Van der Loo; however, you know that doctors do not always tell everything, particularly in doubtful cases. Also you should understand that that slight clouding of her mind I told you about will presumably recur, a thing that many people are afflicted with as they get older. At any rate, I think it a practical idea not to let her be present at the bustle of moving, unless she should insist on it. For the rest, old fellow, I myself am convinced that Van der Loo has advised Mother everything, absolutely everything, that could be advised, and would not say anything new. I mean he would already have warned us if a danger threatened that might be averted. But if he said nothing it might be a sign that, if there is anything the matter with Mother, he would not be able to do anything about it, and that nothing ought to be done. If he leaves nature to her own devices, he does it because it is the...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(c. 15 December 1885)
... charming members of the family. As I have received a letter from Mother asking me to write her and informing me that she has asked you to give her my address, will you let them know that I am not going to write, which for that matter I told them quite simply when I went away. You will understand that things like what happened in March are decisive. Then I left the house, from which may be inferred as a matter of course that they got what they wanted; for the rest, I think of them extremely, extremely little, and I do not desire them to think of me, as far as that goes.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(6 August 1888)
... impressionists, etc. But is that all? If the kind old mother of a family, with ideas that are pretty well limited and tortured by the Christian system, is to be immortal as she believes, and seriously too - and I for one do not gainsay it - why should a consumptive or neurotic cab horse like Delacroix and de Goncourt, with broad ideas, be any less immortal? Granted that it seems just that the most destitute should feel the most the springing of this unaccountable hope. Enough. What is the good of worrying about it? But living in the full tide of civilization, of Paris, of the Arts, why should not one keep this “Ego” of the old women, if women themselves without their instinctive belief that “so it is,” would not find strength to create or to act? Then the doctors will tell us that not only Moses, Mahomet, Christ, Luther, Bunyan and others were mad, but also Frans Hals, Rembrandt, Delacroix, and also all the dear narrow old women...

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