8. 16 August 1970 [ES]
My dear Alan,
You may recall my mentioning in en earlier letter that I've lost a lot of precious time because of my elder son's accident. His ankle is still in plaster; and my spare time has been circumscribed every bit as rigidly, because (in my wife's absence on a recuperative holiday in Canada) I've had to be head cook and bottlewasher as well as day nurse (well, fairly dry) and general factotum for most of my so–called holiday. In the result, although I've got the song piece about a third finished there's still quite a lot to do. This is because instead of merely rehashing the preface to my book I've tried to undertake and incorporate dome further research about Schumann's own attitude to songwriting as inferred from his critical writings, diaries and letters. In the result the story I'm trying to tell is getting a bit long and confused. I wondered whether I might in the circumstances have a bit longer than 31st August, rather than kill myself getting it done by then (assuming that this isn't actually part of your plan); and it would help too perhaps if you could have a look at it in draft to see whether it isn't too scholarly and obscure with erudite references to sources. At the moment it takes much the same form as the piece on tonal analogues, is with numbered references. You could have a bibliography instead, or as well, if you like.
It also occurred to me to wonder what in your synopsis covers the duets, trios and quartets with piano, and the works for declamation with piano (getting on for twenty op. nos) as distinct from the partsongs which I imagine Louis Halsey is covering (again, about sixteen op nos): I seem, in the course of preparing a huge book on Schumann for Faber, to have got to know quite a lot about life and works; so if there's any way in which I can be of service do let me know. I mean of course pour vos beaux yeux, informally and gratis; I'm not looking for any further contracts – quite the contrary, for the foreseeable future.
yours ever Eric