van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
» Home < Previous   Next >
Letter from Reverend Salles to Theo van Gogh
Arles, 19 April 1889

Arles, 19th April 1889

Dear Sir,

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.

This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.
» Home < Previous   Next >

or find:         Credits & feedback