Letter from Steuart Wilson to Ralph Vaughan Williams

Letter No.: 
Oct. 11. 1952

19, Chepstow Villas,
London. W.11.

My Dear Ralph

I wish I wasn’t missing the party - I could wring my gall-bladder’s neck and give it to Cecil Day Lewis to eat!1
Mary will bring this down with her to re-assure you that I’m neither in danger nor in pain but comfortably awaiting results in hospital, and churning over what has happened to me since I first became aware first of your music and then of you.
I’ve tried to set it down several times but I can’t get it right because I’m not pen-artist enough to show all the things in their right relief & balance. There are so many times when what you’ve said or written or just what you’ve been & what you’ve done have made what I’ve tried to say or write or do just that much better. That’s my hanging on to your star but I never think about the old days without remembering Willie Denis Browne; he was one of the great losses.2
Bless your heart, Ralph & have a wonderful party!


1. This sentence quoted in R.V.W.: a biography p.326. Wilson was to have taken the part of the speaker in An Oxford Elegy at the birthday concert in Dorking for VW's 80th birthday, but his place had to be taken by C. Day Lewis.
2. Denis Browne had been with Wilson in the cast of The Wasps at Cambridge in 1909 (R.V.W.: a biography, p.87), and had later played for Wilson at a sing-through of Hugh the Drover (ibid., p.421). He was killed at Gallipoli.

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