van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Reverend Salles to Theo van Gogh
Arles, 26 February 1889


Your poor brother has been taken into the hospital again. As you will undoubtedly have heard from him, he had returned to his house a few days ago.

However, his behaviour, and the way he talked, made me fear that the improvement which had taken place was only apparent. This fear which we all had, proved only too well-founded. A petition signed by some 30 neighbours, informed M. the Mayor of the inconvenience caused by allowing this man his complete liberty and mentions facts to support this assertion. The superintendent of police, to whom the document was submitted, has immediately had your brother taken back to the hospital with the express order not to let him leave. He came to my house to inform me of the situation, and to ask me to write to you.

It is clear that a decision has to be made. Is it your intention to come and take your brother with you, or to put him yourself into an institution of your own choice? Or do you prefer to leave it in the hands of the police? On this point we should have a categorical reply.

Will you without hesitation make your intentions known, and adress them either to myself or to the Mayor or to the superintendent of police. We will only act after having received your reply and we will act according to your wishes.

I had rather hoped to have some better news, and that stopped me from writing to you sooner to acknowledge receipt of your letter and the 50 f. that it contained. This sum I have had taken to my home by the cleaning woman.

My deepest sympathies, and I assure you of my best wishes. Salles.

At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Reverend Salles. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 26 February 1889 in Arles. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number to.

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