Letter from Ralph and Ursula Vaughan Williams to Arnold Barter

Letter No.: 
June 20th 1953.

From R. Vaughan Williams,
The White Gates,
Westcott Road,

Dear Arnold Barter

This is sad news, but a well earned rest must come some time, though I do not know what Bristol will do without you.  I first heard of you, I think, in 1911 over your performance of the Sea Symphony, but I believe we did not actually meet till later.  But it must have been before 1922, when we met at Kingsway Hall over a performance, under Adrian Boult, of the London Symphony.  Since then I remember several wonderful visits to Bristol, but one which fills me with shame, when I missed half a bar in conducting the finale of the Sea Symphony.  But your wonderful chorus pulled me through, and I think that only you, and they, know how near we were to disaster!
I too am retiring from the Dorking Festival.  I still feel hale and hearty, but I think it wiser, before my hair comes off and my teeth drop out to retire gracefully without making a fiasco in public.  I am so glad to think that you are going to be in Gloucester.
We are moving to London in September, which I hope will make it easier for you and me to meet occasionally.


I was lunching with a friend the other day, and met a vicar from Bristol, called Austen Williams.  He lamented that it was rather dull after London, and so I told him that no town could be dull with you in it.  I saw him writing your name down, so if he turns up, you will know how and why.  It will be nice to see you at Gloucester.  Please remember me to your brother, I hope we shall see him too.

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Typewritten, signed.

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