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My dear Theo,
I have seen M. Salles again, and he said that he has written
to you. I think that this will be for the best, and I see no
other way. The power of thought is coming back to me gradually,
but I am much less able to manage practical things than hitherto.
I am absent-minded and could not direct my own life just now.
But let's leave that alone as much as possible. How are things going, are you back?
I must tell you that I think you may find M. Salles' letter still addressed to Rue Lepic.
How are things at home? I think Mother must have been pleased.
I assure you that I am much calmer now that I can tell
myself that you have a companion for good. Above all, do not
imagine that I am unhappy.
I feel deeply that this has been at work within me for a
very long time already, and that other people, seeing symptoms
of mental derangement, have naturally had apprehensions better
founded than my unfounded certainty that I was thinking
normally, which was not the case.
But I want you to think all that over and to consider the
step we are taking now, just as I spoke of it to M. Salles,
this going into an asylum, as purely a formality, and in any
case the repeated attacks seem to me to have been serious
enough to leave no room for hesitation.
Besides, as to my future, it is not as if I were twenty,
since I have turned thirty-six.
Really, I think it would be torture for other people as well
as for myself if I were to leave the hospital, for I feel and
am, as it were, paralyzed when it comes to acting and shifting
for myself. Later on - well, let's wait and see.
I should like to ask you loads of things about Holland and
about these days. Poor egoist that I have always been and still
am, I can't get the idea out of my head, although I have
already explained it to you two or three times, that it is
really for the best if I go into an asylum immediately. Things
may come out right perhaps in the long run. Anyway, my very
poor excuse is that painting narrows your ideas about other
things, perhaps you cannot be doing your work and think of
other things at the same time. It's hard enough, come to think
of it, for the job is pretty thankless and its usefulness is
Understand clearly that we must get absolutely the simplest
board and lodging, 80 francs ought to be enough and can be, M.
Salles says. Rey warns me about St. Rémy that it
is as well to remember that a good many of the patients are
fairly well off and some of them spend a lot of money. Which
often does them more harm than good. I can well believe it.
And I think that in my case nature by herself will do much
more for me than any remedies. Here I take nothing. I
may still have to pay 11.87 fr. in installment for the
furniture - at least they sent me a bill for it - besides the
rest of the rent which I still owe the landlord. And I must
send you my collection of pictures before going to St.
Rémy. I have one case already packed.
I would like to write you about something else, but my mind
is taken up with arranging this business, and I can't find the
ideas I am seeking, so as to write you about several things at
Goodbye for now. I hope you and your wife have had a good
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 36 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 24 April 1889 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 586.
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