My dear friend Rappard,
I spoke to Wenckebach today — and since you’d also had a word with him on the subject and he seemed to know something about the matter, I talked about it — although not in detail. Only as much as that I would be happy to regard it as a misunderstanding, but that I won’t allow your reproaches about my work.1 I will — with great pleasure — admit that I often — as is the case with most people — very often, if you will — do a thing wrong before I get it better. Very well. Details of your comments are very accurate; as a whole, no.
In fact, W. thought that you would take them back. I’ve just shown him that if my figures have changed it’s precisely to gain more form and fullness, and that where I used to put a firm line, this sometimes actually meant that the figure stayed flat — which I’m coming to detest more and more.
Now perhaps it’s a very good thing that it happened like this, though — for you won’t so easily undergo what you called ‘the shaking of your faith’ a second time.
I’ve had the same sort of unpleasantness for a whole series of years with a whole series of people. When I sometimes protested that I didn’t deserve it, it just got worse and worse, and people didn’t want to hear a word about it — my parents and the whole family, Tersteeg and with him many people I knew then, when I was with Goupil, went so far in their condemnation of everything I did that in the last few years, instead of wasting more time trying to persuade them, in my turn I, who have no time to waste, simply turned my back on them as well. And let people say, think, do anything they like without taking any notice of it at all.
This unpleasantness with you is not an isolated instance, even though you may think so. You’ve allowed yourself to be carried away by the general consensus.
If you now feel a little of this yourself and just think it over, then, I repeat — it could be a very good thing that we’ve quarrelled.
I’ll stick to my guns a bit, though, because I don’t want the thing to keep dragging on, and I don’t want a grudging friendship.
Either cordial or over.
So there you have my final word. I want you to come right out and take back once and for all, without reservation, what was in your last letters — beginning with the one I sent back to you.
This is in my interest, but in yours too, because in so doing you’ll undo behaviour which, if understandable, was nonetheless not exactly spirited of you.
In so doing you’ll undo a misunderstanding that you couldn’t in good faith persist in, and clinging to it would be prejudiced spite. On this condition, that you take back everything in those letters, we can begin the friendship anew, and because of this rebuke it may now perhaps be stronger and fare better.
A reply to this please. As for my family — on the occasion of my father’s death — foreseeing that the misunderstanding with them could have gone on forever — I simply said for the sake of clarity — that as far as practical matters and way of life were concerned, my views were too different for us to able to agree in the long run. That I wanted to act entirely according to my own views, but only for myself. And that I relinquished my share of the inheritance2 — because, having been greatly at odds with my father in the last few years, I didn’t consider that I had any right to nor did I have any wish for what was his. This cut short any further unpleasantness with my family, you’ll admit. So that’s finished, and for the rest I’m getting on very well with them. Where I take such a drastic measure on the one hand, though, please understand that although I would gladly make it up with you, I am far from accepting your complaints, and my condition is and remains complete retraction of your letters which, although the details are correct here and there, I certainly don’t deserve as a whole. Regards.