My dear friend,
I was very glad to have your letter, for I was anxious to know whether you had received the enclosure I send from Hereford. Your “Stabat Mater” was fairly well performed at the Hereford Festival, but not so well as under your own direction at Worcester the year before.
A great many people expected you would be at the Festival. I must tell you a joke! All through the rehearsal in the Cathedral the chorus took me for you! Some ladies came and told me so. I said “I am very proud to be mistaken for so good and great a man”!
I was pleased to hear of your safe arrival at your home. Your wife and children would be very pleased to see you again.
I wrote to Mr. Praeger, and gave him your address; and also asked him if he could procure you the desired information. I hope he will be able to do so.
Your “Spectre’s Bride” is to be performed here next month, and is already announced in London, Glasgow, and other places. When you write to me again (which I hope will be soon), I want you to tell me the correct name of the place where you were born. Was it Mühlhausen, Kralup, or what? I am going to write upon “Birthplaces of Musicians”.
Do you know anything of Fibich? Was he born in 1831, or 1850? I have both dates, + I suppose they cannot both be right?
Tell me something in your next [letter] about the “Holy Ludmila”. I wanted to say something about it.
I was obliged to have my photograph taken - as a celebrated critic!! When you come to see me, I will give you one.
Remember, next time you come to England, you are to stay a whole week with me. You must bring Panna Dvořák with you. My wife will be charmed to make her acquaintance. I will take you to Stratford - on - Avon; to New Zealand, or anywhere you like. The great manufactories of this town will be interesting to you. Our good friend Prager is going to have a happy time. In the Crystal Palace they are going to perform, next month, his Symphonisch-Dichtung. “Liebe und Leben - Kampf und Sieg”. I am going to hear it. Here and at Bristol an orchestral piece is to be performed, so he will once more be before the public. I began the good work by introducing a cello-piano sonata at my Chamber Concerts two years ago.
I hope soon to hear again from you, and that your great work is progressing. My dear friend, you will, I know, work like a true artist; you are not spoilt by success, but will go on from great to greater still!
When your work and mine is done, and we are at rest, your name will be on every one's lips, and my children will proudly say - “My father knew him, and called him Friend!”
Yes, my friend, I am not a little proud at your having been my guest. You are always in my house when I am there, for you are in my heart!
I send you my best and warmest greetings, and I look for the pleasure of seeing you here next time you come to England. Lebewohl! Lieben Dvořák!
Immer an dich (Immer dein!)
Stephen S. Stratton