September 11, 2011 by alunparry
Tressell Song At Hastings Conference: Listen Now
Robert Tressell, the author of Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, died in Liverpool a hundred years ago.
This song, Letter To Kathleen, is my response to an email I received from Kate Richardson.
Kate is Vice President and human dynamo of the Manchester Trades Council.
Her email contained Robert’s last letter to his daughter Kathleen, which I’ve copied at the foot of this post.
Robert raised Kathleen alone and they were especially close. When Robert had to leave her with her aunt while he attempted to raise the money in Liverpool for two tickets to Canada, it caused him great pain to be parted from Kathleen.
Neither of them knew the parting would be forever.
Kate recently contacted me asking me for a more usable version of the song as she is addressing a Tressell conference in his home town of Hastings on 20 September. She only had the live version that I sung at Stuart Borthwick’s lecture on Tressell in April and the sound quality was iffy.
So I’ve done a rough demo of Letter To Kathleen and I thought I’d let you have a listen too.
And now the letter itself:
I feel so unhappy being away from you and miss you more than I can say. It makes me very miserable to think of all you used to do for me and of how unkind and irritable I often was in return and although I know that you always made allowances for the worry that caused me to be like that, I cannot forgive myself and try in vain to comfort myself with the thought that you know I never meant to be unkind and that you know I love you more than anything else in the world.
I have thought of nothing but you since I lost sight of you on the platform and the world seems a dreary place to me because you are not here. I cannot write down here all that I feel and want to say to you but if it were true that circumstances compelled us to live apart from each other permanently – then I would much prefer not to continue to live at all….
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