van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Reverend Salles to Theo van Gogh
Arles, 10 May 1889

Arles, May 10th 1889

Dear Sir,

Last Monday I received by telegraphic mandate your 200 francs, and, after hearing what your brother had to say, we left together on Wednesday morning for Saint Rémy. Since then I have been away, and on my return I found your letter.

Your brother had told me that the sum you sent me, 150 f., should be handed to the establishment (that is what I have done) and that the rest, 50 f., will stay in my hands to pay for the journey to St-Rémy, or keep in case he writes me to ask for a book or something else he needs. He hasn't spoken about his linen and his clothes to me, and last week I questioned him about the outfit he needs. He answered that he was sufficiently provided for. For the rest, if he lacks something in this respect you can talk it over with doctor Peyron, the director of the Establishment; I believe he is a man of confidence who will only ask for what is necessary without trying to make anything out of it.

There remains the settlement with the treasurer of the hospice. I asked him for his bill so that I could send it to you, without speaking to your brother about it, in order not to worry him unduly. You will find it enclosed along with the receipt for the 150 f. that I handed to M. Peyron.

Along the way, your brother spoke to me of the settlement with the treasurer of the hospice and asked me to do it. I didn't tell him that I already had the note in my hands. This note shows a deficit, and I didn't want to cause him any worries. I only asked him if he remembered the amount he had handed to the treasurer. It was not at all very clear in his mind. He thought he had given 30 f. before: I can't find any trace in the note that I have in front of me, and the treasurer, who I have just seen, assures me that he accurately took into account everything that had been given him...

...I was writing my letter when the treasurer himself came to find me to tell me That he had indeed discovered in this particular case a paper containing 30 f. with a note saying that this money was handed him by your brother. He therefore took his bill back to redo it, and I will wait for it so that I can send it to you corrected.

Our journey to St-Réy took place under excellent conditions. Mr. Vincent was perfectly calm and explained his case to the director himself, like a man who completely understands his situation. He remained with me until I left, and when I took leave of him he thanked me heartily and appeared rather moved by the thought of the completely new life he was going to lead in this house. Let us hope that his stay is indeed beneficial to him, and that he will soon be judged capable of taking his full liberty. M. Peyron assured me that he would be shown every kindness and all the consideration his condition warrants.

Yours Faithfully, Salles.

At this time, Vincent was 36 year old
Reverend Salles. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 10 May 1889 in Arles. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number to.

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