14. 15 November 1975 (Letter to Mrs. Brown after Dr. Brown's death)

Dear Mrs. Brown,

     Thank you so much for your thoughtful letter of 10 November enclosing a photograph of Maurice, which I shall treasure. It was only last week that I was looking mournfully through my files, and wishing that I had some likeness that I could turn to and remember him by – indeed, I had almost got as far as writing to you and asking, though in the end that seemed too importunate, and I thought I'd better not trouble you. So you see your letter came very a propos, and I really am very grateful. Such a good photograph too, and so characteristic, with its Schubertian background.

     I was also very pleased, and touched, by what you were good enough to say about my name's being among those known to your household. Anyone would be proud to hear that. And it's really another example of Maurice's generous nature, because very few of those he helped so much would be anywhere near his own class as a scholar. He was more than kind to us; but I'm afraid that from than point of view it was all rather one-sided. And the complete absence of any successor at anything like the same level makes hip loss all the harder and heavier.

     I'm glad that the MT obituary seemed acceptable to you. But I'm afraid that, much to my distress, it had a serious omission on this very question of modesty and absence of pretension that we all found so very endearing. My text in fact included a paragraph on that point, which was cut by the editor, despite my protests, in the interests of saving space in what was admittedly a particularly difficult month. Anyhow, I'm venturing to enclose a copy of the missing text, in the hope that it may be of some interest.

     On the same point; I'm sure that for the reasons given all Maurice's many friends will have cause to feel deeply in his debt. I know I have. So do please let me know at any time if there's any way in which I might be of service.

     I'm only sorry that I shan't be able to attend on 13 December, though I won't forget that occasion and shall be observing it in my own way. You kindly asked about my wife's health; and I'm sorry to have to say that her depression shows little sign of alleviation, and that there seems to be no prospect of immediate improvement. It will be a question of patience and affection and the skilled medical care we are getting – and we are hopeful for the new year.

     I very much hope that your own health is now improving, and that you are able to cope with what must, I know, be the very severe strains and stresses of your bereavement and your other trials. It would be well, if you possibly can, to take things easily and to rest as much as you can; that will help to give you the strength and fortitude that you are bound to need at this sad time; and it is good to reflect that , as I am sure will be the case, you are sustained and, as much as may be, comforted by family and friends.

     With kindest regards

        Yours sincerely


P.S.      The excised third paragraph of the obituary (after “Chopin's music(1961)”) was as follows:


"Almost nothing of his scope and eminence could be discerned from the few laconic lines of self–description he diffidently supplied at the request of encyclopaedia editors. Thus his entry in La Musica reads simply 'Having completed his studies at London he devoted himself to teaching and musical research'. But the key to this brief passage, the sense of devotion or dedication, rings true; and it resounds throughout his work. Nothing was too much trouble for this selfless servant of scholarship. Friends and correspondents can testify to the endless pains he would take in supplying documents and data, even to the lengths of laborious longhand copying; and all without the least thought of advantage or even acknowledgement."