Mrs Coolidge and the American Experience: 55
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Title graphic: Frank Bridge: A Life in Brief
Mrs Coolidge and the American Experience: 56

Thankfully, one of the disadvantages of the English situation, financial anxiety, no longer existed. Mrs Coolidge supported Bridge with a generous allowance for the rest of his life. What this meant to him he explained in a letter to Mrs Coolidge, written while on board the Olympic on the homeward journey:

You know Sousie that I have one big desire and that is to give my musical faculty full rein to create. Not that I expect ever to be satisfied, with what I do, for more than a week or so at a stretch. But I am determined to get my mind cleared of all obstacles.

No amount of preparation is, however, likely to bring out what I want at once. I know it cannot. But with freedom of action, and concentration, I do so hope to find that I have a few ideas that are worth mentioning and bringing to fruition.

I don't suppose I can root out all the thistles at one fell swoop, but at least I can cut them off at the top!

All this meandering is like running in a circle preparatory to making a jump for the centre. Such words as kindness and generosity are hopelessly meagre when I consider how much your gift of material freedom means to me. We are all such queer creatures. On one day we are afraid of being scorched and on another we put our hands on to red hot coals. There seems to be no apparent reason for a good many of our decisions, but at this moment I see only your decision to help me out of the rut of my grey-haired professional existence, and because you wanted to do this for me. If I say only 'thank you', you will know how much this really means. Perhaps some time in the future you may find yourself surprised at having done this, but I hope never regretfully. The stupendous surprise of my life is that my views should change so fundamentally in the space of three months and that I should accept the very gift from you that I had so firmly refused. How you must laugh at me! I didn't think you were going to win this battle, although you always said you would.28

28 Letter, Frank Bridge to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, 7 December 1923.