1. In the previous letter, Vincent had thanked Theo twice for sending this book.
2. Theo travelled through the Netherlands from 29 March to 12 April 1876; it can be inferred from a handwritten list he made of the dozens of booksellers and art dealers he was intending to visit that he stopped off in at least 14 cities. He also made a note of the hotels he stayed in (FR b2071).
3. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion, a romance (1839). See Longfellow 1886-1891, vol. 8, pp. 7-285.
4. George Eliot, Scenes of clerical life (1857) contains the stories ‘The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton’, ‘Mr Gilfil’s Love Story’ and ‘Janet’s Repentance’. The first is about a clergyman who is not very popular in his village. Unfortunately, he does not appreciate the love and dedication of his wife until she is dead. The second story focuses on the enduring love of the young vicar Gilfil for an Italian girl. When the egoistic captain she fancies abandons her, she finally marries Mr Gilfil, but dies less than a year later. His love for her proves everlasting nonetheless.
5. In ‘Janet’s repentance’ the protagonist, Rev. Tryan, is talked about by his fellow villagers thus: ‘I wonder if there’s another man in the world who has been brought up as Mr Tryan has, that would choose to live in those small close rooms on the common, among heaps of dirty cottages, for the sake of being near the poor people’. George Eliot, Scenes of clerical life and Silas Marner. Edinburgh and London 1867, chapter 3, p. 204. Cf. also pp. 235-236.
6. Rev. Tryan’s study is described as follows: ‘Mr Tryan’s study was a very ugly little room indeed, with ... an ugly view of cottage roofs and cabbage-gardens from the window’, and: ‘that musty house, among dead cabbages and smoky cottages’ (chapter 11, p. 252; chapter 25, p. 319).
7. An eye witness had this to say about the food served to Rev. Tryan: ‘I called in one day when she [Mrs Wagstaff] was dishin’ up Mr Tryan’s dinner, an’ I could see the potatoes was as watery as watery’ (chapter 11, p. 256). The story makes no mention of his eating mutton.
8. Janet is so terrorized by her husband, Mr Dempster, that she takes to drink. Later she looks after Tryan, who finally dies of tuberculosis. The text recited at the funeral comes from John 11:25. Eliot quotes only the words ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’ (chapter 28, p. 329); Van Gogh added the rest of the verse.
9. The expected letter from Scarborough is perhaps the reply (alluded to in letter 69, l. 19) to Vincent’s application for a position.
10. Theo’s co-workers at Goupil’s; see letter 19, n. 11.