Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Hubert Foss

Letter No.: 
26th July, 1950

The White Gates,

Dear Hubert

First, forgive a typewritten letter because I want you to be able to read this. I am quite overpowered by the affection and thought in your book. I feel hopelessly unable to live up to it. Indeed I owe you rather a grudge because I had hoped for the rest of my life, to be able to live comfortably following my lower instincts, without ideals. Now everybody will be able to refer to your book to find out what I ought to be like! But, alas, I am not and I shall have to try and live up to my (or rather your) ideals.
I will not try to thank you any more. I am sure you will understand.
Just one small point. It looks rather like “looking a gift horse in the mouth”, but I have found a slight misprint on Page 33 - the word printed “snuggery”, should of course be “smuggery”.1
Well once again, my affection and admiration


Hubert Foss, esq.,
60 Corringham Road,
London, N.W.

1. ‘… the second accusation is made by people who affect to scorn what is ‘folky’ because it does not come within the ken of their airless snuggeries’  from 'A Musical autobiography' by VW as printed in Foss, Ralph Vaughan Williams: A Study (1950) p.33 paragraph 2 line 3. The spelling is correct in the later versions in VW's Some thoughts on Beethoven’s Choral Symphony with writings on other musical subjects (Oxford University Press, 1953) and National Music and other essays (2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 1987), p.189.

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Typewritten, signed.

Cobbe 540
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