van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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 10 letters relate to feelings - guilt...Excerpt length: shorter longer  
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(c. 22 September 1883)
... and life here are doing me a lot of good. Oh, if only the poor woman could have enjoyed it too. I think of her with such tender regret - though my common sense tells me clearly that it is impossible under the circumstances. I am worried about her because I have not heard anything, and must conclude that either she did not want or was not able to do the things I advised her to do. I can hardly even write to her, because in the first place, as long as she continues to live in Bagijnestraat, I know that my letter will probably be opened by her brother or her mother; and in the second place, as long as she lives there, I do not want to have anything to do with them, not even with her. Well, perhaps I may hear something yet, but if not, it will give me a melancholy feeling. I had hoped to have news from an address other than Bagijnestraat, namely that she had started a small laundry with her mother. Oh, Theo, if she hadn't had any family, she would have behaved...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(c. 26 September 1883)
... out my work depends on it. Besides, the fate of the woman and the fate of my poor little boy and the other child cut my heart to shreds. I would like to help them still, and I cannot. I am at a point where I need some credit, some confidence and warmth, and, look here, I find no confidence. You are an exception, but it makes me feel even more how hopeless everything is just because you have to bear the brunt of it all.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(19 November 1883)
... Than the source of great rivers.] Theo, I have heard from the poor woman a few times; she seems to be doing her best, working, washing for people, going out as a charwoman. Her writing is almost indecipherable and incoherent, she seems to regret some things in the past. The children are well and happy. My pity and affection for her are certainly not dead, and I hope that a bond of affection may remain between us, though I do not see the possibility or the good of living together again - pity may not be love, but for all that it can be rooted deeply enough. Well, brother, to change the subject, it is snowing here today, in the form of enormous hailstones. I call it snow because of the effect. I don't speak about the beauty of the scenery here because I should have to say too much about it to you. As to the work, I am almost too preoccupied with the idea that you should take it up too, which quite absorbs me. I wish it were settled, then we could make...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(c. 25-28 December 1883)
... several ugly symptoms disappeared. But now everything has changed for the worse, and I fear for her life; and the poor little baby too, whom I cared for as if he were my own, is no longer what he was. Brother, I found her in great misery, and I am in great sorrow over her. I know, of course, that it is more my own fault than anyone else's, but you too might have spoken differently. Now that it is too late, I understand better some fits of temper in her, and some things which I thought she did wrong on purpose I now see as nervous symptoms, done almost unconsciously. Just as she told me on more than one occasion afterward, “Sometimes I do not know what I do.” For me, as well as for you, there is an excuse in the fact that one does not know to what extent such a woman can be relied upon, and in the financial obstacles besides - but we should have chosen a middle course, and if we could still find it - though it will be difficult to find...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(28 October 1888)
... no fear for me, nor for yourself either. Indeed, I was horribly worried about you, for if Gauguin had not come to the same conclusion about it, I should have caused you pretty heavy expenses for nothing. But Gauguin is astonishing as a man, he does not let himself get out of hand, and he will wait here very quietly, working hard, for the right moment to take a great step forward. He needs rest as much as I do. With the money he has just earned, he certainly could have treated himself to a rest cure in Brittany just as well, but as things are now, he is sure of being able to wait without getting fatally into debt once more. Together we shall not spend more than 250 fr. a month. And we shall spend much less on paint, since we are going to make it ourselves. So on your part, don't be uneasy about us, and have a breathing spell too, you need it badly. On my part I just want to tell you that I ask only to go on at an average rate of 150 a month (and the same...

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