1. Auguste André Lançon contributed drawings for wood engravings published in The Illustrated London News (1870); later in the decade he became a ‘special artist’ for L’Illustration.
a. Meaning: ‘nog steeds’ (still).
2. Ferragus is the protagonist of the eponymous story in Histoire des treize (1834-1835) by Honoré de Balzac. He is the leader of a secret society called ‘Les Dévorants’. When his involvement in this society indirectly causes the death of his daughter, he sinks into a depression and goes insane. It is possible that Van Gogh’s drawing was based on the illustration by Honoré Daumier (see letter 274, n. 3).
3. On the road (F - / JH Juv. 15). This might be the work Van Gogh refers to as a ‘delivery man’. The second, In front of the embers (F - / JH Juv. 16), is possibly the old-man type he mentions. Van Gogh calls them both ‘small ones’ – they measure 9.8 x 5.8 cm. See cat. Amsterdam 1996, pp. 72-75, cat. nos. 13-14. It is possible that the drawings Sketch of a landscape with factories (F 874r / JH -) and Two men on a country road (F 1105 / JH -) correspond to ‘A miner’ and ‘A walk in the snow’.
4. Considering the possible identifications listed in the previous note, this could have been the Landscape (F 874v / JH 3). See also letter 165, n. 4.
5. Van Gogh might have been thinking of Henry Bonaventure Monnier’s Mémoires de Monsieur Joseph Prudhomme (1857), which he mentions in a later letter (296).
6. In 1876 Gustave Doré’s London – A pilgrimage (1872) was published in a French edition called Londres by Louis Ernault in Paris. The book contains 174 wood engravings. See Doré 1885, p. 158, and cf. letter 129, n. 36.
7. Van Gogh had shown an interest in Rops as early as 1873, when he made the drawing Old woman sleeping (after Rops) (F XVII / JH -). See cat. Amsterdam 1996, pp. 51-53, cat. no. 5.
8. Paul Gavarni was the pseudonym of the French draughtsman, caricaturist and writer Hippolyte Sulpice Guillaume Chevalier. The phrase Van Gogh quotes has not been found in Gavarni’s writings. For the source of this maxim, see letter 120, n. 8.
9. For Bargue's Exercises au fusain, see letter 156, n. 12. In early 1881 Theo was promoted – probably as of 1 February – to the position of manager (‘gérant’) of Goupil’s branch at 19 boulevard Montmartre. See exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1999, p. 33. Theo’s father congratulated him and offered encouragement: ‘It is as though the melancholy that had taken hold of us because of our sadness about Vincent has eased greatly since we heard the good news about your promotion. I can well understand that the firm and the firm’s interests sometimes keep you awake at night’ (FR b2235, 14 February 1881).
10. Variation of the saying ‘rendre leur épée’ (to lay down one’s arms).
11. Theo had suggested that Vincent come to Paris (see letter 158).
12. This postscript seems to be a reaction to a remark made by Theo, who had become acquainted with Victor Horta through a colleague at Goupil’s. The colleague was probably Thomas Schmidt, whom Vincent had visited the previous October (see letter 159). Horta, who later gained renown as an architect, had gone to live in Brussels in 1880. See Victor Horta, Mémoires. Ed. C. Dulière. Brussels 1985, pp. 7-8, 316; and Horta. Van Art Nouveau tot Modernisme. Ed. Françoise Aubry and Jos Vandenbreeden. Ghent 1997, p. 225. Horta’s memoirs do not tell us whether Vincent actually paid him a visit.