7 March 1968 (To Diana McVeagh)

Dear Diana,

   Thanks for your note. I was intrigued to learn that you always do what you are told. As you may not (or, possibly, may) know, that's irresistible; and prompts a quick response. Also I happen to be at home all this week, with plenty of leisure to await questions to which I might hope to know the answer (quite a change from the office). It was flu, but has now fled.

   But I'm not sure that I can help you much, without knowing what you want your edition for – a practical playing edition? an authentic scholarly edition? bound to tone decorously with the decor? or any combination of all three?

   I'm sure that good general advice is avoid the Clara/Gesamtausgabe, which is none of those things, but a sort of Albert (or Robert) Memorial, overlaid with editorial amendment and comment. Some of the latter is very gnomic and amusing, almost at the Cocteau level, e.g. "On ne doit pas jouer les Sphinxs"; but it won't do.

   Most entertaining and serviceable, I find, is the four-volume Augener; which is reasonably complete, reasonably accurate, and also quite amusing. It could really be useful, like a traveller's phrase–book, to have in three languages, ready for instant use at appropriate moments, such phrases as "This movement pulsates with the animation of a true Carnival merry-making!" and so on for half a page on Faschingsschwank. Contrast with the grim Teutonic taciturnity of the Henle Urtext man who on the same work says nothing. Nothing! He must be a Trappist.

   Bun seriously the best advice I can give you, I am quite sure, is that if possible you should consult Kathleen Dale; who – on the showing of her superlative contribution to the Abraham symposium – must surely be the ultimate authority on Schumann's piano music in all its aspects.

   While we're consulting experts, perhaps I might seek some help from you? I consulted a dear friend, who has some cryptographic competence, on that very tiresome Elgar puzzle. But alas, he farad no better than I (In that context, "alas" is a cryptic expression secretly meaning "hooray"). We're both pretty sure though that there's something there not too far from the surface, which patience might dredge up in time, when we have any. And before investing any more time it could be nice to be absolutely certain that there is no obvious point we are missing.

   So the question arises: where now is the original of the postcard dated 14th July 1897, inscribed Miss Penny? Do you know?

   Yours ever