Letter from Ursula Vaughan Williams to Michael Kennedy

Letter No.: 
August 20th [1957]

From R. Vaughan Williams,
10, Hanover Terrace,
Regents Park,
London, N.W.1.

My dear Michael,

Lovely to hear from you - & I’m so glad you like John Hersey.1  I didn’t know you’d been to Hiroshima etc.  How strangely awful it must have been.
We’ve had a hell of a week, as they suddenly felt R. ought to have an operation2 – indeed quite inevitable, so into hospital he went, & had it on Saturday.  Everyone most helpful and kind, & though it was quite a big do he rang me at 8 am the next morning to see if I was all right! He’s been astonishing everyone with his vitality, & has been working yesterday & today, & today was up for a bit.  He’ll be in hospital for another 10 days I expect, & no Worcester for us, either, but we are going to Spain on the 10th – 23rd. He’s looking very well, cosy & serene, & has started something by kissing all the nurses – who adore it.  Last week was dreadful, but all is happy now. We’ve managed to keep it dark from the press so far, but now we’ve had to tell Worcester we cant come – so Im telling our friends as well dont worry at all.
All love


At the time only Jean (& George, who was implicated) & Genia & Yania & Gil knew, & my mother – so it made it all much easier.3

P.S.  Party after the concert on Oct 9th 4
P.S. We can’t come up till 27th as theres Brass Band Festival on 26thHell!5


1. UVW had recommended John Hersey's book The Wall. See VWL3538.
2.  For a cancerous prostate.
3. Jean Hadley, George Hadley (as a physician the matter would have been discussed with him), Genia and Yanya Hornstein, Gilmour Jenkins and Lady Beryl Lock.
4. The Royal Philharmonic Concert celebrating VW’s 85th birthday at the Royal Festival Hall.
5. A birthday concert at Manchester including the London Symphony. See R.V.W.: a biography, p.385.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 159, f.179
General notes: 

Year taken from postmark.

Cobbe 720
Original database number: