[Picture: KeeVos-Stricker]In April 1881, Van Gogh went to live in the countryside with his parentsin Etten and continued drawing, using neighbours as subjects. Through thesummer he spent much time walking and talking with his recently widowed cousin,Kee Vos-Stricker, the daughter of his mother's older sister and JohannesStricker, who had shown real warmth towards his nephew. Kee was seven yearsolder than Vincent, and had an eight-year-old son. Vincent proposed marriage,but she flatly refused with the words: "No, never, never" (niet, nooit,nimmer). At the end of November he wrote a strong letter to Uncle Stricker,and then, very soon after, hurried to Amsterdam where he talked withStricker again on several occasions, but Kee refused to see him at all. Herparents told him "Your persistence is disgusting". In desperation heheld his left hand in the flame of a lamp, saying, "Let me see her for aslong as I can keep my hand in the flame." He did not clearly recall whathappened next, but assumed that his uncle blew out the flame. Her father,"Uncle Stricker," as Vincent refers to him in letters to Theo, madeit clear that there was no question of Vincent and Kee marrying, givenVincent's inability to support himself financially. What he saw as thehypocrisy of his uncle and former tutor affected Vincent deeply. At Christmashe quarreled violently with his father, even refusing a gift of money, andimmediately left for The Hague.