Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Jack Gordon

Letter No.: 
[late April 1937]

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

My Dear Jack Gordon

(Please don’t doctor me)

You indeed have saved Hugh if it is ever to be saved (even P. Gregg1  said Act II was “All right” now) – If people don’t like it now they never will – it’s had its very best chance.  For this I am eternally grateful to you & every one concerned2
You ask for suggestions – so I make them – but they are really quite trivial
(1) I still should like a few more people crossing the stage during the dawn scene (I think another one to two from the other side soon after the children come out of the pub – to make quite clear that that way is blocked also (I know they come later – but I shd like another couple also earlier) – but if you think it is right as it is let us leave it.

(2) I feel that after John is marched off Mary & Hugh should not be in loving converse – she is as she says “afraid” & should be cowering down stage until he persuades her that life in the open sky is O.K. – perhaps she might want to go back in to the house with Aunt Jane and Janeb, emotionally minded as all disappointed spinsters are, wants her to stay with Hugh - & she stands undecided –

(3) I don’t think this is your department but I mention it now – I could hardly hear the clock striking 4 – (the chimes were all right) – I heard something about a deeper bell (out of Boris) perhaps this would be better though not the right note (curiously I heard it perfectly at rehearsal)

I hope to come to the matinée on May 1st
Again 1000 thanks



1.  Humphrey Procter-Gregg, who had managed the first performance of Hugh the Drover in 1924.

2.  VW is referring to the production of Hugh the Drover at Sadlers Wells in April 1937.  He seems to have written this letter just after the first night.

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