1. George Eliot’s novel Felix Holt, the radical (1866) tells the love story of Felix Holt and Esther Lyon, which ends in their marriage. It ‘is a study in the Radicalism of the time of the Reform Bill, contrasting the ideal radicalism of Felix Holt, who, with talent which might command material success, prefers to spend himself in social service, and the political radicalism of the good business man, Harold Transome, who breaks away from the Tory traditions of his family’. See I.G. Mudge and M.E. Sears, A George Eliot dictionary. The characters and scenes of the novels, stories and poems alphabetically arranged. London 1924, p. xxii. It can be assumed from what Mr van Gogh wrote to Theo that the book ended up in Etten on 15 March 1876: ‘He [=Vincent] also writes about Felix Holt. We’re reading it with interest’ (FR b954).
2. Anton Mauve and Jet Carbentus were married on 26 November 1874.
3. On Alfred Sensier’s Etude sur George Michel, see letter 44, n. 2.
4. Mr van Gogh was to turn 54 on 8 February.
5. In letter 110, Van Gogh mentions the subject of a lithograph by Bodmer that was hanging in his parents’ house, which suggests that the work referred to here could be a lithograph after Fontainebleau in the autumn [1753] (In the forest during winter); see also letter 110, n. 10.
6. Louis Cabat, The pond at Ville-d’Avray [1750] and Autumnal evening [1751]. See letter 55, n. 9.
[1750] [1751]
7. It is unclear which series of etchings by Jules Dupré Van Gogh is referring to. The subject of the etching must have been a ‘little ship’, because Mr van Gogh wrote to Theo: ‘How kindly he [=Vincent] remembered us again. What a gorgeous print it is, the one of the panting hart. And that little ship by Dupré’ (FR b2234, 17 February). Perhaps this was the etching Bateau pêcheur et barques (Fisherman’s boat and small fishing vessels) by Léon Gaucherel, which Mr and Mrs van Gogh had at any rate known in November (the etching was published in Galeries Durand-Ruel, 1873, no. 225). Ill. 1763 [1763]. See also letter 98, n. 17. Another etching that is certainly a possibility is Le Crotoy, 1872 (made by Auguste Boulard after Jules Dupré), which is also to be found in the scrapbook containing prints from Theo’s estate (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, t*1487, 26). Ill. 1764 [1764]. The depiction Mr van Gogh mentioned of ‘the panting hart’ – below which Vincent had written Psalm 42 (FR 2741) – could be one of the above-mentioned prints after Bodmer or Jacque.
[1763] [1764]
8. In January 1876 Dupré was 64, whereas Mauve was only 37.
9. On 29 January 1876 the Reverend Van Gogh wrote to Theo: ‘We think it a splendid idea that you take English lessons, that can stand you in good stead. We were more satisfied with Vincent’s last letter, not that it clarifies the future, but he speaks more naturally and says that the teaching profession seems quite attractive to him’ (FR b2230).
10. The poetical works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, of which various editions were available. It was not until 23 March that Vincent acted on his intention to send Theo a copy of this book. See letters 66 and 72.
11. Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy tales, of which numerous editions were in circulation.
12. Regarding Evangeline and Miles Standish, see letter 14. ‘The baron of St Castine’ and ‘King Robert of Sicily’ form ‘The student’s second tale’ and ‘The Sicilian’s tale’ of the book Tales of a Wayside inn. See Longfellow 1886-1891, vol. 4, pp. 179-188, 46-53.