Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Gustav Holst

Letter No.: 
[March 1899]

5, Cowley Street,

My dear V.H.

I am so very sorry - I can’t say more but you will know how sorry I am without my saying more. I’m afraid my letter hurt you rather - well forgive me if it did - I had a secret hope that you would disregard it because I feel that the evil and scandal in the world must put its tail between its legs when it meets you. And that reminds that I just want to say that I was never so heartless as to mean to say that you imagined the world idaeal1  - but that when one met you one tried to imagine it as idaeal in its motives and ideas as you were. Never think that your utterings can give us anything but pleasure to help in.
The quintette was won by a damned italian - Dunhill’s a good second.2
I have good reason to believe my counterpoint and viva (Mus. Doc.) were satisfactory.
I am scoring Proserpine.3
Yrs always


I am so very sorry

1. sic.
2. Thomas Dunhill. Apparently the Lesley Alexander Prize; according to Le Ménestrel (April 1899, p. 133), the winner of the 1899 competition was Giuseppe Frugatta (1860-1933) for his Quintetto for violin, clarinet, horn, cello and piano.
3. Catalogue of Works 1899/1.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 158, ff.27-28
General notes: 

VW sat his Mus. Doc exam in March 1899 - date extrapolated from this date. Not printed in Heirs and Rebels.

Original database number: