Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Margaret Keynes

Letter No.: 
December 20th 1953.

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

My dear Margaret,

I think it very unfair to label people like this on such very slight evidence. But I fear I did not know her1 well enough to bring any evidence to the contrary. I was quite young when she died, and before that she had been an invalid, chair-ridden and bed-ridden, for many years. I very seldom saw her, and I was throughly2 frightened of her, and I expect she became difficult in extreme old age. My nurse used to tell me that she was rather de-haut-en-bas with the servants, but my nurse was a complete red, and therefore not a trustworthy witness on these matters. But two good things about her I do remember, one, that she taught me to read out of “Cobwebs” when I was quite a small boy, which I used to enjoy very much. And my mother told me that my grandmother before she married, did very good social work in Shrewsbury. I am sorry I cannot be more helpful.
I always remember a delightful supper party about Job at your house where I met Lilian Bayliss and while discussing ways and means, she said that the Job scenery could be kept in a store and used afterwards for “heavens”.
I hope now that we are living in London we shall both have the pleasure of meeting you and Geoffrey.


PS. We have got the copy of Cobwebs, and it is affectionately annotated in very pretty writing, “Ralph read as far as this aged 4½”. I think it speaks well for both teacher and scholar.

1. VW's maternal grandmother Caroline Wedgwood, a sister of Charles Darwin.
2. sic.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS 1246-1985
General notes: 

Typewritten, signed. Postscript from UVW.

Cobbe 622
Original database number: