Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Ralph Wedgwood

Letter No.: 
December 1st [1900]

10 Barton Street

Dear Randolph

It was very nice to see your handwriting again - I had a fear that perhaps your growing interest in the ’pools would result in your not caring to hold any communication with outsiders: I should miss your letters very much if that did happen.1
Ought you not to have been here last Thursday when there was a great mustering of Wedgwoods & Darwins to see Mildred Massingberd married?  Had I been her I think I would have chosen one of the other brothers - especially William - but I believe they are all provided with wives at present.  This marriage however seems a very happy one & Mildred is a wonderfully informed person, not meriting at all Mrs Godfrey Wedgwood’s dismal description of her as ‘a good old maid gone wrong’!
I am sure you remember Mrs Temple who reappeared here yesterday after a mysterious absence of 4 months, during wch time I could hear nothing of her.  She has just emerged from Holloway Gaol where she has been doing four months for threatening to brain a fellow lodger with a coal hammer.  She was described in the police report as a ‘ferocious woman’.  She denies the whole story & says “brain” as a verb has never formed part of her vocabulary.  She doesn’t look ferocious now, having lost 50 lbs in weight - a padded cell & straight waistcoat have been part of her experiences - a fortune of £900 seems still to be hovering in the air but she is coming to work here as none of it has reached her pocket yet.  Her language is superb - but I fear she has been very much out of her mind - I am making enquiries about her at the Police Court & Gaol - Meanwhile if she doesn’t get too excited and if she doesn’t use the coal hammer on us or on our new kitchen we shall get some thrilling tales of prison life from her & a good deal of amusement.
We have been in London pretty consistently since October.  I have been going to Brighton as often as I can - next week my family move to Lymington for the winter - They hope the climate there will be better for my father than Brighton - he is very delicate now - I wish they cd have managed the Riviera but the long journey was too great an undertaking.  Hervey is very well & begins to walk a little.  I hope you have good accounts from S. Remo or is it Bordaghieria?2 And will you join them for Xmas or are they returning - I thought I heard that they were.3
The concert scheme has been given up for the present - 4 out of the 6 have backed out, chiefly for reasons of expense - but we shall hope to bring it off next winter.  Ralph has just finished a large work for Orchestra called a ‘bucolic suite’ - he is entering on a new phase of composition & is getting ‘complicated’ like the Russians.4
He has not put any more irons in the fire lately - unless you have not heard of his boys school - Mr Dunn’s of New Barnet where he teaches 5 finger exercises to small boys & meets the most elegant of masters there - chiefly old blues who invite him to play stump cricket with them in the intervals!
The Oxford extension iron has progressed so far that he is invited to give a trial lecture next summer.  I am trying to persuade him to go to Berlin for a week at Xmas for pleasure & profit but he is rather obstinate about it - Won’t you take him?
We see a good deal of Theodore Davies - he is a more frequent visitor than Crompton now - & we like him better every time we see him.  I had an opportunity of admiring his physical qualities in addition to his mental not long ago when he took us into the Strand on the evening of the C.T.V’s return for we had some bad moments in the crowd & he was really magnificent!
He came in to tell us of his visit to you & talked with rapture of the ascent of the sheerlegs5  - but he can talk with rapture also of Surrey - in fact I think he is at heart a cockney - only a very romantic one -
When we next hear from you you must remember to tell us how your article on American trains was received - Have you got to the end of military examinations & what is yr rank now? Please forgive such shocking writing but I have been lazy & have written this on my lap by the fire.
Your affectionate


1. See VWL280 and footnote for another reference to ‘’pools’.
2. i.e. Bordighera.
3. Wedgwood’s parents were perhaps spending the winter on the Italian Riviera.
4. The score of the Bucolic Suite is marked ‘finished 29th November 1900’, see Catalogue of Works 1900/1.
 5. A sheerleg is a floating crane; there would have been many in Hartlepool where Wedgwood was living.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/3, ff.66-69
General notes: 

Year from reference to Bucolic Suite.

Original database number: