The Dutch God was an understanding landlord, but neither His patience nor His pocketbook was unlimited. If a farmer died and his wife could not carry on, Dorus evicted her and sold the family’s possessions at public auction. Even the family of a typhoid victim was not immune. At the direction of the Society, Dorus evicted the dead man’s wife and ten children. Another widow pleaded that eviction would leave her with no way to support her five children except prostitution. But the Gentlemen were unmoved. When the carpet manufacturer complained about the poor quality of yarn produced by the widows in Dorus’s work-relief program, the Society terminated it. Soldiers and widows were not expected to be profitable, just to pay their own way. Otherwise, church support might be treated as charity, which, as the mayor of Zundert noted, “only feeds the laziness of people.”
From Steven Naifeh's biography of Vincent van Gogh.