In March 1880, Van Gogh had been to stay with his parents in Etten, as emerges from a letter Mr van Gogh
wrote to Theo on 11 March: ‘Vincent is still here. But oh, it is a struggle and nothing else. Now he’s talking about going to London and speaking to Rev. Jones
. If he persists in this, I’ll make it possible for him. But it’s hopeless! ... Oh, Theo, if only some light would shine on that distressing darkness of Vincent’ (FR b2496). Hulsker links this remark to the next sentence in the present letter – ‘As you may perhaps know, I am back in the Borinage, my father spoke to me about staying instead in the vicinity of Etten, but I said no’ (ll. 14-16)
– and assumes both that Vincent’s stay in Etten lasted until shortly before this letter was written and that Vincent spent all that time in Brabant. (Note sent by J. Hulsker to the museum, dated May 1995). However, Vincent must have left quite a while before 25 June, for Mrs van Gogh
said on 5 July: ‘We’ve heard nothing for a long time and shall write again soon’ (FR b2495).