Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Michael and Eslyn Kennedy

Letter No.: 
Oct 20 1956

Dear Eslyn & Michael

It was wonderful to get your letter – If anything in my life – music included - has enabled anyone to have a fuller enjoyment of life – then I feel I have not lived in vain - & is this not especially true with dear friends like you – I hope people feel this but so few of them take the trouble to say so – certainly not in the wonderful way you have said it.
Our friendship has not been long – at all events to an octogenarian like me – but I believe it is firm & lasting and strong.  I consider it a lucky day when I first met you both in Manchester.
But on the other hand your letter makes me feel my inadequacy – I wish I could be all you think & say I am – but it gives me an ideal to live for.
You write of being true to oneself – that is a thing I always try for & hope I may sometimes achieve it.
Our love to both of you & thanks for a good friendship

R Vaughan Williams

P.S.  Forgive the scrappy letter – I thought it was going to be a rough copy – but I think you will be able to read some of it with a magnifying glass.1

1. The letter is written on lined paper torn from a spiral notebook. Michael Kennedy added a note on the envelope: ‘This letter is my greatest treasure  MK’.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 159, ff.140-142
Cobbe 701
Original database number: