Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Harold Child

Letter No.: 
27th July, 1913.

Hotel Tyrol,

Dear Child
I'm sorry I'm such a nuisance about the finale but it does not seem to me quite right yet.  I don't know whether you will agree with me but I feel strongly that neither Hugh constable nor A. Jane nor chorus ought to even imagine the idea of Mary & Hugh going away together.  As soon as the soldiers are gone two ideas present themselves to the mind of the constable.  Either a) Hugh will now go off alone, or b) he may be persuaded to stop with her, take over the goodwill of John the Butcher's business and settle down in this 'salubrious town'.
Now I think this alteration of idea need not cause much alteration in the actual lines.  My idea is as follows,
Soldiers go off - absolute silence for a few seconds - then the Const. goes up to Hugh and says to him
'Stop here and marry Mary.'
A. Jane follows him speaks to Hugh, not Mary, I think.
Chorus join in - (all this will involve very little change I think).
Then Hugh, aside to Mary in two rather weighty lines:
'Will you choose your home comforts or me?'
Mary (rushing to his arms) 'Here is my home'.
Hugh 'Beloved' (or words to that effect).
Then Hugh turns to assembled company and says 'Friends, I do not like your town etc.' - As a lyrical finale to the speech I propose putting 'up at my side, as the drover wins his bride' just before they go off.
About the actual end I am again v. uncertain.  I'm not sure that just the constable's 'stop her', then H. and M. head off, then 'farewell' will not be better.  Anyway I do not feel the chorus's last lines are quite formal enough - cd they not be just a continuation of the ballad seller's 4 lines? - i.e. the dramatist speaking, not the chorus, in person.
In haste,
P.S. I am back in a few days.  Shall you be in London?


Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/2/4, ff.66-67
R.V.W.: a biography, pp.415-416