Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Ralph Wedgwood

Letter No.: 
[?Summer 1907]

Temple Elfande

Dear Randolph

I see that Adeline is writing to Iris so this inspires me to write to you and thank you for your card. I had to read between the lines of it and found out you were having a good time. We have had a funny summer holiday as my Brother in law Hervey (Fisher) has been very ill - but is nearly well now & we expect to go back to London on Wed: or Thurs:
But its been an opportunity to do a lot of “quiet work” - and incidentally I have really finished my magnum opus which I told you I was beginning years ago (at York)1 - when you said I wasn't to do any more Stevenson but something healthy in fact you said “Be a man - don't be a cad” (G. Robey2) - This is all about the sea and is for every conceivable voice & instrument & takes over an hour to perform - so I suppose it will now go into its drawer and remain there for ever.
We had Curle3 here for a night lately (just after he had been with you) & he gave us a marvellous account of how he had bicycled 14 miles in an hour at night with a punctured tyre & his lamp always going out & various other mishaps - do you think this is true? - but I'm not sure whether it was after visiting you or after some other visit.
Write to me when you have time and tell me all about Germany. Did you go up the Brenner-Thal after all or not. I presumed from your card that you had been at or near Salzburg part of the time.
Give my love to Iris & to Randolph II.


1. In VWL331 and again in a published programme note of 1913 VW said that he started A Sea Symphony, dedicated to Wedgwood, in 1903 and that the first sketch was complete in 1907 (though at this point its working title was The Ocean). The work was to be the subject of much further revision before eventual performance at Leeds in October 1910.
2. VW refers to a catchphrase of George Robey, the music hall comedian, who was knighted in 1954.
3. Richard Curle, friend of the Wedgwoods and husband of Adeline's sister Cordelia. See Levy, Moore, p.274.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/3, ff.27-28
General notes: 

Sent from a house near Capel, east of Dorking.

Cobbe 48
Original database number: