Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Gustav Holst

Letter No.: 
[About September/October 1899]

5, Cowley Street,

Dear V.H.

How when and where are you? When I don’t hear from you for some time I’m always afraid that you’ve resolved into your constituent elements or disappeared into air like the cheshire cat.1
I did write to Gatty about ‘W.W.’2 - did I tell you - & he said he would write to Wallace again. I don’t know if he did - I will worritt him up again now he’s back in London. When do you come back? Do come soon and lift the cloud that has settled on the metropolis since the day of your departure.
I have written a new coda & a new movement for my serenade & most of my degree exercise.3 Have you been writing anything also you haven’t said how your hand is for about a year, do tell us how it is and how you are generally.
We heard Tchaikowski’s 1812 at Queen’s Hall the other day. I’ve never heard such a row  Band, organ, bells, and someone apparently hitting a tub.


My wife says she hopes you are coming back soon.

1. Holst had taken a post as a trombonist with the Carl Rosa Opera Company in September 1898 and was therefore on tour. The Cheshire Cat was a character in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, who tended to disappear suddenly leaving behind nothing but his smile.
2. Possibly Walt Whitman.
3. Serenade for small orchestra, in A minor, Catalogue of Works 1898/1.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 158, ff.22-23
General notes: 

Not included in Heirs and Rebels.

Original database number: