1. After a disagreement with his father, Van Gogh left his parents’ home at Christmas 1881: see letter 194.
2. We do not know what financial and practical arrangements Van Rappard’s family had made among themselves; from the subsequent letters it would appear that Van Rappard was given the opportunity to devote himself to his art.
3. Biblical.
4. Van Gogh is referring here to the walk with which he began his journey from Drenthe to Nuenen; see letter 409.
5. After ‘find me coarse’ Van Gogh originally wrote: ‘People are like brushes – the ones that look the best do not work the best’ (‘Het is met de menschen als met de penseelen – die er het fijnst uit zien werken niet het fijnst’). He had previously written: ‘Very fine pens, like very elegant people, are sometimes amazingly impractical, and in my view often lack the suppleness or elasticity that most ordinary pens have to some degree’ (letter 325).
6. This could be a reference to a remark previously made by Theo, since Vincent once wrote: ‘I remind you of your own words that “marrying”’ (i.e. civil marriage) ‘is such a odd thing’ (letter 336).
7. Cf. Matt. 15:8 and Mark 7:6.
a. Means: ‘beroerd’ (wretched).