Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Gustav Holst

Letter No.: 
VWL130
[?May 1901]

My Dear V.

I can’t tell you what pleasure it gives me that you should consider us old friends enough to confide in - also it enables me to behave like an old friend and tell you how absolutely right I feel you are - after all what’s the good of waiting. I was glad when I came upon your news - characteristically sandwiched in between two operas; you’ve got something that’s better than all the concerts in the world put together - I’m afraid I’m very disjointed but I want to express more than I can in words.1
You say that you are going to ‘drop your laziness’ - you never were lazy - but you had not a sufficient idea of the value of your time - you must really learn to be rather more churlish and not be ready to work yourself to the bone for any man who meets you in the street - not only without any pecuniary reward but with the certain knowledge that (i) the result cannot possibly be anything like commensurate with the pains expended and (ii) that the results however good will not be appreciated.
Do remember that it’s your duty to keep all your energies in reserve for the moment when they can be used to advantage (For instance don’t make a new copy of ‘Sita’ but show me the old one when you come back) - there I’ve been preaching you a sermon - but then I’m younger than you by about 3 months ...2
[Letter apparently incomplete]


1. VW seems to be  responding to the news that Holst and Isobel Harrison had decided, after a long engagement, to go ahead and get married - this took place on 22 June 1901. The two operas which Holst was working on at this time were Sita and The Youth’s Choice.
2. This is a a joke of some kind - in fact VW was a year and 11 months older than Holst.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 158, ff.30-31
General notes: 

This letter not included in Heirs and Rebels.

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
R.V.W.: a biography of Ralph Vaughan Williams, p.61
Original database number: 
0105xa