Item 134 - Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan

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Letter from Sophie Weisse to Elizabeth Trevelyan


  • 6 Aug 1940 (Creation)

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18 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh. - Thanks Bessie for a kind letter: she left Donald [Tovey] on the day of his death at quarter to one and he 'spoke those words' [see 8/133] to her 'quite clearly', but he may have become unconscious after that and when she returned around six he had died. Wonders whether Bessie went to Worplesdon for the burial of Donald's ashes; an old friend went and told her about it, but she herself had not heard it was to take place, yet Worplesdon is only about fifteen minutes drive from her house at Knaphill; wishes she had known. Has not been well recently, but has been working slowly on a project of turning most of this flat to a memorial: Molly Grierson says that there is nowhere for the students to do quiet work; would be happy to gift it to the university. Molly is 'overburdened in every way', especially family troubles. Some of Donald's old books are still here, such as his old "Missa Solemnis" over which she found him weeping [see 8/132] and from which he chose what was to be played and sung by Mona Benson. The memorial service in St Giles was very beautiful: old members of the Reid Orchestra came 'from far away places'; the 'whole University came in their magnificent robes'; Mollie conducted the orchestra in her red Doctor's robes, while she in hers 'crouched in a corner weeping'. Donald 'need not have died so soon... in such agony about his hands', if he had been left in London with Dr de Souza and not 'that damp place [Hedenham] where Lady Tovey and John [Wellcome Tovey] told him he was 'only lazy' [for not practising]. Dr de Souza had arranged somewhere safe for him to go in London if there was anxiety about the [Westminster] Hospital. Wonders whether Dr Blut [sic: Karl Bluth] is interned; very much 'admired and agreed with him as a doctor' and wishes she could help him. John has been sent suddenly somewhere in the South, for coastal defence: 'they have grown quite reckless with the lives of young men by the thousand'. Originally enclosing two poems by Professor [Oliffe Legh?] Richmond, which she thinks beautiful and like Donald. Her taxi driver today commented that she would be missing Donald and said 'We all thought there was nobody like him'; used to go on Sunday nights to hear him. Found herself 'sobbing on the man's arm'.

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