Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Ralph Wedgwood

Letter No.: 
[?March 1906]

13 Cheyne Walk

Dear Randolph

Thank you so much for sending the novel - we first read it aloud & then we read it to ourselves.  It is splendidly full of vitality and grip so it seems to me - perhaps a little influenced by Meredith and Conrad - but it doesn't seem to me any the worse for that.  Perhaps it is rather too condensed - I can't help feeling that a little more verbiage would let the air in a bit - there is such a lot crammed into these 3 chapters - and the excessive economy of language sometimes prevents the meaning being clear (I know this is what silly people used to say about Meredith & Browning but I can't help it)
- E.g. When Varing meets his Bellairs one is thrown out because one does not make out at first that she is riding
The consuls story is splendid though I don't feel the horror of it - I think the condensation is responsible for this - and I'm not sure that I shouldn't like the audience’s signs of horror to be cut out.
One or two details
Frederick the valet is an Englishman in chap I & French in chap II
p. 21 Khankhan - Cancan(?)
One or two of the consuls slang expressions are too hard for me.
But all this will probably be cleared up when the next batch of chapters [have] arrived.
I send you my two latest efforts - that is to say latest printed since one was written 9 years ago and the other 7.1  They were sung by Elwes at a recital the other day.2  Harford was 1st rate the other day.  I hope he'll be as good at Newcastle.3
To return to the novel - I haven't praised any thing - I took that for granted - one knows that anything Felix does will be individual and out of the ordinary.4
Adeline is adding to this5  - only this - what is the Major's age?  for I can't make out & consequently can't take any interest in him - we enjoyed reading it aloud enormously - it is all so alert & Felician & has nice human wise touches  in it too -

I think you were right about the meuniers. They are too near the sentimental to be attractive.
Do you want the M.S. back or is it to be sent from here to D. MacCarthy?6

1. The works were ‘Dreamland’, Catalogue of Works 1905/7 and 'Claribel'.
2. Gervase Elwes gave a recital at the Aeolian Hall on 31 October 1905; the programme identifies the two works mentioned here.
3. Francis Harford - see VWL140.
4. Felix Wedgwood.
5. From this point to ‘meuniers’ in the hand of AVW.
6. Presumably Desmond McCarthy, the critic, and a former Cambridge 'Apostle'.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Add MS 71700, ff.17-19
General notes: 

Dated from the reference to Harford’s recital in Newcastle to which VW refers, as having taken place in VWL140.

Original database number: