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Tovey, Sir Donald Francis (1875-1940) knight, music scholar and composer
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Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

47 Greenbank Road, Birkenhead. - Thanks Trevelyan for sending [Thomas Humphrey] Ward’s “English Poets”. Agrees that the parallels between Fulke Greville’s song and his own poem, both in theme and metre, are remarkable. Is not generally keen on anthologies, but thinks this a good one, though he feels that not enough space is given to Donne. Thinks that Donne is the best English lyrical love poet. Would like to return the Ward in person, and discuss the theory of metre. Is very interested to hear of Trevelyan’s collaboration with Tovey [on “The Bride of Dionysus”] and would be keen to see the libretto.

Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

47 Greenbank Road, Birkenhead. - Thanks Trevelyan for the proofs of “Sisyphus”, though he has not yet had time to read beyond the first few scenes, and for promising to send him the opera when it is bound. Sends a new poem. Has given up his novel, and is substantially reworking his play. Has taken up regular work on a “local newsrag” which is taking up much of his time, but novel-writing would be more of a drain. Has an idea for a book in three parts: “A Treatise on Love, in Several Doctrines and Examples in the form of Interludes”; sends the first completed piece. Is to be married in January. Asks how Tovey’s music is going, and when the operas will be given a hearing. Met Binyon recently and was surprised to find he did not like music and so looked askance on Trevelyan’s experiment, but otherwise found him charming. Is sorry to have kept Tovey’s analyses (which he greatly enjoyed) and the Moores so long.

Returns to the letter on 27 Nov and is greatly apologetic for not having returned the books and acknowledged the proofs. Has been very busy with newspaper work, but is also prone to procrastination. Praise of “Sisyphus”. Asks if Trevelyan has seen [? Esmé Cecil] Wingfield Stratford’s book, and whether he knows who the author of “Queen Marianne” and “Borgia” is [Michael Field, pseudonym of Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper]. Sudden death of Abercrombie’s father in August. Asks if the “45” could be returned quite soon, as he would like to get it published.

Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

The Gallows, Ryton, Dymock, Gloucester. - Thanks for the sale of "The Sale [of St. Thomas]". Should like to see Moore's letter as he must talk with him about private publishing: does not think he could publish them himself but would give Moore any help he could. "Thomas" not selling well. Glad that Trevelyan has come to an agreement with Tovey [about "The Bridge of Dionysus"] but wishes it was more satisfactory. He and his wife have not made a decision about Italy.

Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

7A. Stanley Gardens, W.11. - Thanks Trevelyan for the ballet tickets. Is sorry that Trevelyan has had "a setback", and hopes that this will be righted by the time they meet the following week. Has, unlike Gordon [?Bottomley], heard of Herbert Palmer, but thought of him as a critic rather than a poet. Nevertheless, is happy to support Palmer's application. Has not yet heard any of [Donald] Tovey's concerts, but means to do so.

Letter from Lascelles Abercrombie to R. C. Trevelyan

The University, Leeds. - Thanks Trevelyan for his letter [about the possibility of Abercrombie getting a Chair at Cambridge: see also 1/83]. Is inclined to accept the job in London [at Bedford College]; is going there for interviews on Tuesday so must soon decide. Then will go to the Isle of Wight for a few days and hopes to meet Catherine at the Shiffolds. Wants to get to Edinburgh to see Trevelyan's opera ["The Bride of Dionysus" had four performances at the Empire Theatre in April].

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Wallington, Cambo, Morpeth. - Glad that Elizabeth has heard of some nurses who may suit her, but sorry that she has this trouble. Good that Julian is so well; she and Sir George hope to visit in October and see him. Thinks [E. M.] Forster must be interesting, since his novels are 'so clever & original', though she does not think he manages plot well. Has been reading [Myra Kelly's] "Little Aliens", about 'the little Jew children in America', which is 'pretty & funny; but quite slight'. Sorry Mr [Donald] Tovey is not progressing quickly, but it must require much work to write the music for an opera ["The Bride of Dionysus"]; probably best that it will not be put on next summer, as 'the world will be simply mad over the Coronation'. George's children are 'much improved': Mary has shown no signs of temper; Theo is 'passionate occasionally' but still young, and a 'very nice boy'; [Humphry] seems quite strong now.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Wallington, Cambo, Morpeth. - The photographs [of Julian] are 'delightful'. They have been very anxious about Mary [who has suffered a miscarriage]; Dr Williams stayed two nights 'as there was danger of Haemerrage [sic] and then things would not come away entirely', but she is recovering now; it is very unfortunate and she hopes Mary 'will be more careful another time'. Is sure Elizabeth is 'not running the risks she has done'; hopes she is well and can confirm her news [that she is pregnant]. Hugo Bell has been visiting, and has seen [Donald] Tovey recently, who was 'very full of the opera ["The Bride of Dionysus"]; glad Tovey is working hard on it. George plans to visit soon 'by way of a walk'. '[G]reatly excited about politics'; wishes the '[constitutional] crisis were over'. Asks if Margaret V[aughan] Williams would like to visit towards the end of Elizabeth's stay at Wallington.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Wallington, Cambo, Morpeth. - Glad that Mrs Enticknap got back safely; wanted her to stay till today but she did not want to travel without an escort; glad she was 'satisfied with Gussie'. Will send some fruit tomorrow and hopes it arrives in good condition; it worked for Janet, but the post is quicker there. Mary is recovering [after her miscarriage], but must stay in bed until the end of the week; she is 'very cheerful, & wants company', so it is lucky a cousin has come to stay, as Caroline found it very tiring visiting her every day. George came for three days; he is 'fairly cheerful now, but looks sadly older, & has times of silence and depression [following the death of his son Theo]'; was meeting Janet at Ellargreen [?]. Delighted to hear that Elizabeth's 'news [that she is pregnant]' is true; will be 'so good for Julian'. Knows she is always careful; Mary was 'very unwise' and it is kindest not to say too much about it. Sorry to hear that Mrs Catt still doubts she is strong enough to come as a nurse. Excited and uneasy about politics; it is a 'very serious crisis'. Hopes Mr [Donald] Tovey will soon be settled and that they have a good time with him. Going to a garden party at Hallington today. Loves the little photograph of Julian.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Wallington, Cambo, Morpeth. - Elizabeth must be finding the heat very trying, as she is. Mary is recovering well [after her miscarriage]; C[harles] is coming this week. She and Booa think Elizabeth has made the best decision about the nurses, though it is very sad that Mrs Catt is not well enough to return. Thinks Julian may talk when he is sharing the day nursery with Mary and Humphry; Janet says Humphry 'chatters incessantly'. Asks her to thank Robert for sending the poem; is sorry that Robert has been worried about the opera ["The Bride of Dionysus"]; Hugo Bell reported that [Donald] Tovey was very interested in his work on it. Tovey must be a very pleasant guest; sends her regards. Glad Elizabeth has the Reas as neighbours; it 'makes so much difference to have one house where they are not just local'. Is not giving a party for her neighbours this year, due to Molly's indisposition, so is asking them to small tea parties. The E[xhibition] is on Saturday, and the tenants party on the 24th. Mrs Rea's puzzle was very difficult, and she had to come and help Sir George with it; it was 'so ugly too' but interesting. They are 'shocked and grieved' by the strikes and riots; finds it hard to understand; does not quite agree with Sir George about it. Glad the Peers gave way, or there would have been a 'great reaction'; the crisis is now over and the Tories divided, so something must be done. Sir George has inflammation they think must be gout in his finger. Glad the fruit arrived in decent condition.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Wallington, Cambo, Northumberland. - Hopes Elizabeth is not over-burdened with 'guests & small worries', and that she might be able to do some good for her cousin [one of the Hubrechts?] and his wife; always difficult, but 'the mere fact of his relations being kind to her' may help; it is all very sad and unfortunate for their child. Is glad Julian 'flourishes'; expects it will be good for him to be in the nursery with the other children [Mary and Humphry], who will be there throughout Elizabeth's visit. G[eorge] and J[anet] will come for a week, and Aunt Annie [Philips] will also be visiting then. Hopes to hear about Robert's plans for travel abroad in the winter. Hopes the game arrived; will send some grapes on Monday. Thoughts on the strikes: sympathises with the men, and there is 'something fine in them acting together', but the violence has been very unfortunate, and the economic impact great. Churchill 'seems to have made mistakes' but it was hard 'in such a storm' to see clearly; Sir George thinks he was 'not strong enough at first'. Amusing that the House of Lords has been so entirely forgotten. The [tenants'] party was on Thursday, and went well except for a little rain; Sir George and Charles made speeches, and Geordie said afterwards 'That was nice poetry'. He, Pauline and Kitty gave their grandparents a concert the other day; their governess is 'clever at getting up little entertainments' and they sing 'very prettily' now. Audrey Trevelyan has been to visit, and they like her a lot. Sends love to Bob; hopes Mr [Donald] Tovey will have done much work on the opera ["The Bride of Dionysus"] before he goes.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Wallington, Cambo, Northumberland. - Glad to hear good news of Elizabeth, and that she got all her shopping now; if the 'elderly nurse seems suitable' when they meet, she will feel settled and ready for 'the event' [giving birth]. Helen Verrall is here; Mr Hunsfield [?] and his son are arriving today, then Sir George's American friend C[harles] F[rancis] Adams and his wife come on Saturday. Mary and Pauline return tomorrow; hopes the troubles [local illness?] are over. George arrived 'over-worked & looking ill'; is taking a real holiday and seems to be getting better. Sir George is well, and much enjoyed his days shooting yesterday at Catcherside. Sends love to Bob; was 'flattered' at him liking her article. Sure Elizabeth is enjoying Mr [Donald] Tovey's playing. Pantlin is finishing the flannels, which will be sent soon. Hopes the lane [at the new house] will soon be 'all it should be'.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Wallington, Cambo, Northumberland. - Mr [Donald] Tovey's visit must have given Elizabeth great pleasure. She and Sir George feel 'very quiet without the children', but they have occasional visits from Pauline; she is growing up and can just stand now; Mary [her cousin?] was 'very fond of her' though they 'cannot do anything together'. Glad Elizabeth likes the flannels - it will be 'nice to see Wilhelmina in them [Elizabeth's baby was in fact a boy] - and that she has settled with the nurse. Is sending the leaflets she promised. Has 'done no politics lately', but there is to be a conference at Morpeth on 18 October. Spending a few days with Aunt Annie [Philips] at the end of October. Mary seems very well; thinks they [she and Charles] go to town on 20 October; Janet is at Stocks Cottage for about another fortnight, then they [she and George] also settle in London. Will enjoy seeing so much of Elizabeth and Robert this winter; Miss Martin will come and stay with Sir George when she is away.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Welcombe, Stratford on Avon. - Was very sad yesterday to be going further from Elizabeth [since the baby is due]. London was 'horrid... dark & dirty & noisy'. Left Pantlin in low spirits, but she writes that the [nursing] home is nice; believes her operation is today. McKenzie said there was nothing wrong with Sir George's ear, having 'looked into it with an electric light!'. Rolandi does not have [Rolland's] "Jean Christophe", so she will send for it from the London Library. Hopes that Mr [Donald] Tovey's concert was a success. Can come to Surrey via Reading and Gomshall, though Sir George 'very strangely' objects to her returning this week; can start at short notice.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Welcombe, Stratford on Avon. - Sorry that Elizabeth is having such a long wait (before giving birth); glad she likes the nurse. Has been busy talking things over with Booa [Mary Prestwich]; went for a long walk with Sir George yesterday afternoon. Brief discussion of blanket patterns and knitting stitches. Glad Alice went to the dance, 'as now both the girls have had an outing'. Thinking having a tea party for the 'gardiners [sic] & people close here about' but they have not yet settled this; the 'school tree [or treat?]' is on 4 January. Sir George began work today; he is well, but whenever she returns after being away she 'can't help seeing how old he looks!'; he keeps up too many fires for Caroline's comfort. Hope Robert could talk to Mr [Donald] Tovey; supposes he will take on the work [the libretto for Tovey's "The Bride of Dionysus"?]. Hearne [the butler] went to a concert in the village last night 'with the girls' and says it was 'very good'. Sir George very indignant with the Lords; she is sure it is 'the beginning of a long struggle'. Glad Robert is reading aloud to Elizabeth.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Wallington, Cambo, Morpeth. - Was judging at the Exhibition on Saturday; 'Sunday we went to Church!'; Sir George read his chapter to her for two hours on Monday. Elinor Middleton, Kenneth Swan and 'M. Burnett' have been staying with them; tomorrow it is the tenants' party. Sir George was very pleased to have Julian's photograph; intends to come to see him in the autumn. Theo and Humphry have had measles and are recovering; Mary shows no sign of it; the children's visit may be delayed a little but George comes on the 31st. The [Henry Yates] Thompsons visit soon. Pleased to have good news of Julian; would like to see a photograph of him in the donkey cart. Hopes they are enjoying Mr [Donald] Tovey's visit and that he is better.

Continues the letter after having been interrupted by Mary and her guests Mr and Mrs Runciman, then 'the children with the poney [sic]'; Pauline is 'beginning to ride nicely'. Has read Rosalind Murray's "The Leading Note", which is 'nice and simple, but a girl of that age does not know enough to write a novel'. Hopes Robert is enjoying having 'Ariadne clothed and adorned [by Tovey's composition of the score of "The bride of Dionysus"].

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Wallington, Cambo, Morpeth. - Good to hear Julian is doing well; she and Sir George will visit on 20 October; not sure how much she will be doing in London, since she wants to see pictures and perhaps go to the theatre, so may not stay the night. Must be very interesting to see Mr [Donald] Tovey at work; sure Elizabeth will help him a little 'by "intelligent sympathy"'. A postscript notes that she 'must remember the homespun [?] next year'.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Chillingham Castle, Belford, Northumberland. - Has come here for a night's stay; arrived in time for a 'beautiful walk' yesterday. Wonders whether the Grandmonts are with Elizabeth and hopes they are having this good weather if so; sends regards, and hopes they like the [new] house. Thinks she must come to London at the end of October; asks if she can come to visit on 31 October or 1 November; discusses travel arrangements. Audrey Trevelyan has been to stay; she played 'some queer music by a man called Debussy which she said was very much thought of in Paris'. Agrees with Elizabeth that music here is not very good, but thought Audrey played well. Everyone envies Elizabeth and Robert having [Donald] Tovey to stay with them.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Palace Hotel, Rome. - Very glad Elizabeth has found a suitable nurse; was sorry to see Nurse Withers has not yet found 'an infant' to go to; it has all been very troublesome, and 'the little scamp' [Julian] will never know. Hopes the new nurse will be firm with him; does not think Nurse Withers had any 'personal influence'. Caroline is recovering quickly; she still coughs and cannot do much, but has 'insisted' on going out once a day since the weather is 'glorious'; they went to the Forum yesterday morning, and today plans to go out for a drive and walk after lunch. They have a 'nice "apartment"' on the fifth floor with a fine view. Mrs Severn writes to ask if Elizabeth 'would be interested in a young lady violinist'; Caroline is sure she will not, but encloses Mrs Severn's letter anyway [no longer present]. The concerts are over. Glad Mr [Donald] Tovey is well; hopes 'the great [Sophie] Weisse is behaving more easily'. Aunt Annie [Philips] enjoyed her visit to Elizabeth and thought Julian looked well. Robert will soon be back; hopes Mr and Mrs [Gordon] Bottomley are 'comfortably settled', and asks if Bottomley is better than last year. She and Sir George expect Charles and Mary, who are staying at a small hotel nearby, on Friday; is disappointed that she will not be able to 'scold' Mary for 'doing too much, and making herself ill' as she supposes she has done the same. Asks her to tell Robert they are glad he went to Casa Magni [the Shelleys home at San Terenzo, Lerici]; the three poets [Bob, Abercrombie and Gibson] 'should all have written a poem on it, that evening!'.

Letter from Sir George Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Wallington, Cambo, Morpeth. - Delighted with the picture of Julian. Enjoyed himself on a long day grouse-shooting at Ray; is 'always glad to be with those excellent neighbours' [Charles Parsons]. Mrs [Nora] Sidgwick had left when Elizabeth's letter arrived so he could not pass on her message; she seemed cheerful, and glad to be at Wallington; she likes the house she has bought near Newnham and 'regard[s] her future very cheerily'. Elizabeth must be interested in Mr [Donald] Tovey's visit; he 'brings more than most guests'. The 'public meeting in the yard was great fun' and a real success. Thanks Elizabeth for the Minimac [sic: Minimax] prospectus; Mrs Sidgwick says they used to put out a fire at Newnham 'which a foolish girl had occassioned'.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Welcombe, Stratford on Avon. - Thanks Elizabeth for her 'affectionate letter'; they enjoyed her stay very much' and miss her and Julian. Kept careful watch the day Elizabeth was away, and does not think she needs worry about 'the management of the child'; he is happy with her [Miss Evans?] and 'not a bit frightened or suppressed'. True that her manners are 'bad, & very worrying', but she recommends putting up with them until 'a change of regime is desirable'. Julian is very well behaved, and only 'talks too continuously'; fears it runs in the family. Did not see anything in the papers about the concert, so was glad to hear the symphony was a success; things are difficult for composers at the moment, and she hopes Mr [Donald] Tovey will be recognised in the future. A postscript notes that they are looking out for Robert's book ["The Foolishness of Solomon"?].

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

The Park, Prestwich, Manchester. - Cooler here than at Welcombe, but still 'dry and parched'; sorry Elizabeth is suffering so much from the drought. The hay is 'being carried everywhere'; it is a poor crop but will be got in with little difficulty. Annie [Philips] seems well; she was 'delighted with Julian' and seems to have enjoyed Elizabeth's visit. He should be sent up to Wallington if he feels the heat too much. Interesting about Elizabeth's Dutch friend: hopes she will be able to 'use her musical talents', but fears it is 'a sadly difficult time to begin'. Very good that Mr [Donald] Tovey now has a fixed position [at Edinburgh]. Annie has just shown her Bob's "[The Foolishness of] Solomon", which she received this morning; wonders where Sir George will get their copy; hopes it will be successful. Is reading the Emma Darwin letters; sure an earlier book printed privately reproduced some of them. Asks what news Elizabeth has of Mrs Abercrombie; hopes she is recovering and that they feel 'easier about the results of the operation'. Sir George is going to Newcastle today then driving to Wallington tomorrow; they are looking forward to seeing [Charles and Mary's] 'Cambo children', who seem to be having a good time there. Thinks she is turning into 'a real "country cousin"', finding the crowds and traffic of Birmingham or Manchester 'almost bewildering'. It seems 'less black' here than it used too, but perhaps it is just the best month. There are people coming for tea today and lunch tomorrow, and Morton is coming this evening. An enclosure which Elizabeth need not return is mentioned in a postscript.

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