1. Acting on Mr van Gogh’s advice, Theo had gone to visit Vincent on Sunday, 25 February, as we learn later on in the letter; see letter 107, n. 1.
2. Photograph of The Huguenot by Sir John Everett Millais; see letter 11, n. 4.
3. Millais’s The Huguenot is based on a story derived from Giacomo von Meyerbeer’s opera Les huguenots (1836). Millais himself explained his intentions with an accompanying text: ‘A Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s day refusing to shield himself from danger by wearing the Roman Catholic badge. When the clock of the Palais de Justice shall sound upon the great bell at daybreak, then each good Catholic must bind a strip of white linen round his arm, and place a fair white cross in his cap.’ The night of 23-24 August 1872 saw the beginning of the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Paris, in which many Huguenots (French Protestants) lost their lives. See Engen 1995, p. 54 and Ash 1996, text accompanying plate 12.
4. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ‘The light of stars’, see ll. 53-89.
5. After Scheffer donated his Christ in Gethsemane [1783] to the Dordrechts Museum in 1857, the museum managed in a short time, through donations and bequests, to add a great many works by this artist to its collection. See Museum Ary Scheffer. Catalogus der kunstwerken en andere voorwerpen, betrekking hebbende op Ary Scheffer en toebehoorende aan [het] Dordrechts Museum. Dordrecht 1934; exhib. cat. Dordrecht 1990, pp. 67-70; and cat. Dordrecht 1992, p. 18.
6. Nicolaas Mager, a member of the Dutch Reformed (Nederlands Hervormde) Congregation, was one of Vincent’s co-workers at Blussé & Van Braam. He registered officially as a resident of Dordrecht on 18 November 1875, and went to live with the Rijkens in Tolbrugstraat. Two years later he was living in the house of J. Henning at Vriesestraat, Wijk D 1030, which was next to the Lutheran Church. Henning was the sexton and lay reader of the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. At the time he had plans, which he outlined to Theo, to go and work as an assistant for Goupil (FR b2529). Civil registration records show that Mager left Dordrecht officially on 6 May 1879 and moved to Arnhem. Cf. Molendijk 1990, p. 5.
7. The town of Menton was a popular health resort on the French Riviera. (Uncle Vincent spent the winter there every year.)
8. Elizabeth Wetherell, The wide, wide world; see letter 80, n. 5.
9. This remark refers to Theo’s infatuation with a woman of low social standing who already had a child. Although Theo apparently felt responsible for her, a proper relationship was impossible: Mr and Mrs van Gogh learned of the affair and, on 7 March, had voiced their objections (see letter 111, n. 8). Mrs van Gogh, referring to Job 38:11, attempted to impress the following upon Theo: ‘imagine that you had not experienced all those sad troubles, you would perhaps have gone on making yourself unhappy, recognize His voice: hitherto and no further. Why should you be lost?’ (FR b2511). A week later she wrote again about this woman ‘who may not be for you’ and tried to console him (FR b2513, 14 March 1877).
10. Regarding Longfellow’s ‘The light of stars’, see letter 92, n. 21.
11. 2 Cor. 6:10. Vincent writes ‘alway’ instead of ‘always’.
a. Van Gogh added the English translation himself.
12. Opening lines from the poem ‘Old bells’ by Guy Roslyn (pseudonym of Joshua Hatton) in Village verses etc. London (Moxon & Co.) 1876, pp. 3-4. With a few textual changes:

‘After years of city toil I hear the village bells;
They sing a new song while the old song in my mem’ry dwells –
A strange new song, with strange new words that many sorrows bring;
would that I could hear again the song they used to sing’.

The closing lines suggest that it might be an adaptation of 2 Cor. 6:10.
13. Cf. Isa. 66:2. Vincent wrote ‘on’ instead of ‘to’ twice, and ‘needy and sorrowful’ instead of ‘of a contrite spirit’.
14. John 17:15.
15. Ps. 121:5.
16. Acts 17:27.
17. 1 Cor. 12:26.
18. A prayer written and often recited in the family circle by Mr van Gogh; see letter 113.
19. Exod. 4:20.
20. Cf. for this proverb: letter 99, n. 6.
21. Christ in Matt. 10:16.
22. Cf. Matt. 11:28-30.
23. Matt. 16:24.
24. Cf. Luke 14:26.
25. Matt. 6:6.
26. Cf. Matt. 6:17-18.
27. Cf. Rom. 8:26.
28. Cf. Luke 22:32 and Luke 22:31.
29. Cf. Gal. 4:6.
30. Matt. 6:8.
31. Hymn 56:4.
32. Luke 4:30; cf. John 8:59.
33. John 2:4.
34. Cf. Mark 12:25.
35. Gal. 3:28 and Col. 3:11.