Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to Cordelia Curle

Letter No.: 
June 8 [1922]


Beloved Boo.

The music festival ended yesterday. - 2 evening concerts - The 1st - the choirs - & the second one orchestral works - Ralph started the concert with his Pastoral - It went very beautifully & he had a good voice for the end - about 1500 people & more camped outside on the grass.  All the composers had laurel wreaths & I find we are expected to carry this huge trophy back to England.  We have been in this nice country nearly for a week - very green - & the house is painted white wood.
Tell Adam I have seen a humming bird & I have a robins nest with 2 young ones just outside my window only the american robin is as big as a thrush & its breast is a dull copper red.
Ralph has seen a Wood Chunk - It is a fat little furry animal half cat half fox - it waddles along & lives in a burrow and it is very fond of getting into a kitchen garden & eating up the vegetables.1 There are many fine butterflies and I have seen one gorgeous scarlet & black bird wh is rare & we hear frogs at night & there are fire-flies wh are very pretty like tiny electric lights & I have heard a bird called ‘Whip poor will’ - that is what he says - They have no cuckoos here - There is an amusing parrot in the kitchen who sings and talks very friendly.
The Stoeckels are very dear people - only we have to do just what Mr Stoeckel plans for us - and Ralph feels a little restive - from a surfeit of kindness!  We have lovely little rooms at the top of the house where we have our breakfast alone - fruit & shredded wheat & cream & tumblers of pineapple juice - tea & buttered toast.
Mrs Stoeckel is good company  She is heiress of the estate here & this music festival is to honour the memory of her father.  They live in the ancien regime - beautiful horses instead of motors - swiss maids - an english gardener & an english parlourmaid! a very happy feeling in the house - Meals are too rich & wine flows all the time!  These are the chief troubles! We have seen some nice people - here for the festival & now today we are going to visit another house in the Berkshire Hills & spend the night there with a friendly old Miss Watson - Keen on music & Monday Mr Stoeckel takes us to Boston (it is Thursday today) . We visit the music conservatoire & then on Wednesday we go to the Atwaters to stay till we leave I hope - June 20th -
The Longmans got here for the Pastoral last night - you wd love the american house with ones own private bath room & cabinet!  I often think of you.
Its hot but not more so than english summer heat - & we have had tremendous showers & thunder storms - I am well & so is Ralph -
I don’t know really what the audience made of the Pastoral but the feeling was as if they liked it.  They were mostly country people & factory hands all very well dressed - a few negroes - One doesn’t see many here-
I so wonder if this will find William with you - I was so touched at his coming to see us off at Waterloo - I hope he is looking more rested.2
You will be thinking of Thurlstone soon & we of Wheatfield!3


Love to dear Ad4

1. AVW means a woodchuck and has perhaps also slightly confused the name with the chipmunk.
2. AVW’s brother William Fisher.
3. The VWs were to live in Wheatfield while the Curles were abroad in France.
4. The Curle’s son, Adam.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/6, ff.54-57
General notes: 

Much of the letter is printed in R.V.W.: a biography, p.144.  The VWs were in Connecticut in the USA; several related documents are in the British Library MS Mus. 1714/1/6 file.

R.V.W.: a biography of Ralph Vaughan Williams, p.144.
Original database number: