Gauguin gave this account of the ear incident to Bernard, who relayed it to Aurier in a letter as follows:
Ever since [it was clear] I had to leave Arles, he was so bizarre that I couldn’t take it. He even said to me: “Are you going to leave?” And when I said “Yes,” he tore this sentence from a newspaper and put it in my hand: “the murderer took flight.”
I spent the night in a hotel, and when I went back all of Arles was in front of our house. Then the police arrested me, because the house was covered in blood. This is what had happened.
Vincent had returned home after my departure, had taken a razor and cut his ear clean through. Then he put a big beret over his head and went to a brothel to take the ear to a wretched girl, telling her: “You will remember me, truly I tell you this.” The girl fainted immediately. The police were called and came to the house.
Vincent was hospitalized. His state is worse, he wants to sleep with the patients, chases the nurses, and washes himself in the coal-bucket. They had to lock him up in a room