2. 11 March 1969 [ES]

Dear Alan,

thank you for your letter of 7th February. I'm sorry that I haven't replied sooner. The reason is that my wife has had to go into hospital for an urgent operation; and during her stay there her mother has died suddenly at her home near here.

   My wife is slowly recovering from both her operation and her bereavement; but it's been, as you can imagine, a very anxious time.

   One effect of it has been to hold up very considerably the revision of a book on Wolf I was doing for Faber, who are very kindly bringing out its second edition. This in turn holds up work on the book on Schumann cipher, etc., which is also for Faber. But one condition of their agreement to my doing a chapter on that subject for your symposium was that their book should appear first. I must say that the timetable is now much less clear than it seemed when we last talked.

   Another point which I find perplexing is the question of a chapter on the songs, which I thought we had also agreed tentatively, as in your letter of 2nd January. But your later letter, and a letter I had the other day from David Sharp, mention only the cipher chapter. Have I been reprieved on the second count?

   Finally there is still to be resolved this question of terms. Something tells me that these old eyes aren't exactly going to kindle with enthusiasm as I peruse the contract; but let's see. In any case you may find that my domestic circumstances (to say no more) make me more of a liability than an asset as a collaborator.

  I'm sorry about all this, indeed I am.

  But I trust that all is well with you and your affairs. That would be some comfort.

  yours ever Eric