Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Lady Dorothea Butterworth

Letter No.: 
Saturday [?16th February 1918]

13 Cheyne Walk

Dear Lady Butterworth1

Thank you so much for sending me this - I have very few criticisms that I can make - it is so true - & you have made a most skilful use of the letters. I do like them much best as you have treated them. But I want to say that I am disappointed that you have not written in the first person throughout. The characteristic stories lose power - & as you told me about George packing up for you it was so perfect because it was for you - the same applies to the story of the dinner party. Was not the point this: that George talked against his inclination because you wanted it - he wdnt have done it for an ordinary ‘hostess’?2
Ralph is inclined to think that in the extracts of the letters the “rough exterior” is perhaps too much insisted on - & feels that this side of him was only really noticeable to those who knew what his inner nature really was.
I am writing this all very badly - but I wanted to answer your letter today for we are leaving London today again though I hope we may have a day or two later on - before my husband is posted to a Battery.3
We shall not forget your kind invitation to come again and thank you again for letting us share in this with you.
Yours very sincerely

Adeline Vaughan Williams

1. George Butterworth’s stepmother. His father had married Dorothea Ionides in 1916.
2. A memorial volume, George Butterworth 1885-1916, was being prepared by Sir Alexander and Lady Butterworth for private circulation which was to include memoires by colleagues and friends.
3. The letter was presumably written during the period of embarkation leave before VW was posted to France on 1 March 1918.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Eng.c.3269, ff.118-121
Original database number: