[Winifred Peck [Lady Peck; née Knox] (1882-1962), novelist and biographer, sister of Ronald Knox.] Substantial correspondence of more than fifty Autograph Letters Signed to her brother E. V. Knox, intimate leters dealing with family affairs.

Winifred Peck [Winifred Frances Peck, Lady Peck; née Knox] (1882-1962), novelist and biographer, sister of Ronald Knox and E. V. Knox [Edmund George Valpy Knox] (1881-1971)
Publication details: 
None with year, but dating between the 1930s and her death. Most on letterhead of 19 George Square, Edinburgh, with others from London, Dublin and Sussex.
SKU: 23231

Lady Peck does not have an entry in the Oxford DNB, but the entries of her four brothers and father, supplemented by various biographies, illuminate the contents of this intimate family correspondence of more than fifty letters, in which the eldest sibling, Ethel Knox (1879-1958) features prominently. A total of 187pp, in various formats. Also present is a postcard sent from Ireland (letterhead of the Royal Hibernian Hotel, Dublin). The letters are signed 'W' and 'W F P', and almost all addressed to 'Teddie' (others to 'Evoe', 'E. V.' and 'My dearest Bard', 'My poor dearest', with three jointly addressed to E. V. Knox and his second wife Mary). In fair condition, lightly aged and worn. The correspondence is in considerable disarray, with a number incomplete letters, and unmatched leaves. The recipient E. V. Knox has attempted to date a number of letters, and has written notes on the contents (for his daughter the novelist Penelope Fitzgerald?), some on slips of paper: 'Rather spiteful P. G. but some truth in it? Lily had triumphant look at the funeral but who can wonder. Ethel suffered terribly', 'Firstly arrival of William. 10 1/2 lbs. (1/2 ?) at 18 Beckenham Grove. Lunch at Lyons & a film with your Aunt Ethel, also a walk with her. | Lily shocked at Julian's appetite!', 'Tony's engagement to Joan de Bush Whyte', '18 Beckenham Grove after Mrs. K's death' ('Mrs K' being the mother), 'Marjorie Newton's death', 'Mention of R[onald]'s life - last page?', 'M. Bede | Prinknash', 'I can't match these | Very few year dates | Wilfred mentioned his legacy' (Wilfred being a brother), 'Mention of R's life - last page?', 'Ethel's illness', 'wartime'. Among the many references to family members are several to E. V. Knox's son 'Rawle'. A spirited correspondence from one professional author to another, of which the following quotations can only give an indication. Regarding her brother Ronald Knox, and his friend and literary executor Evelyn Waugh's writing of his biography, she states: 'I have been thinking so much with such sorrow over R's Life but I hope E. W. [?] the sadness. If anyone had written Wilfred's they might have made it as tragic & baffled & yet he was a happy person, wasn't he, specially the last few years. I wish I could enjoy my memories but they are so full of my omissions. I can only look back on Kibworth without a sense of guilt.' Elsewhere she writes: 'I also thought the Punch story was just Waugh - what a lot he invented.' Of her own work she writes, 3 August [1939]: 'I have had a great disappointment. Faber accepted a novel I wrote in [Gayfere?] St. with enthusiasm, raised my royalties (unasked) & asked for an option on my next. I was almost dreaming of a best seller till I saw he & Joad [the popular philospher C. E. M. Joad] had been prosecuted for libelling a parson [Rev. E. L. Macassey, vicar of Mapledurham] in Joad's book [Guide to Modern Wickedness, 1939] & had to apologise & pay up. So I realise that this sudden desire for my mild Anglican books is just because he's no desire to be definitely Anti-God in the Trade & I've no more chance of success than ever! Such is life!' Elsewhere she writes, with reference to E. V. Knox's new home in Hampstead: 'I've just got a novel out with a Hampstead Cottage in it & know well that all the Mrs. Oll: type of person will think its meant to describe Grove Cottage. You will realize that Fabers has been holding it up for 18 months & has now published it on what looks like lav: paper - it was really a silly little cottage we had for 6 weeks of Xmas holidays just off Heath St. Ronnie adored it. Grove Cottage sounds far, far nicer. & I do hope Mary will conquer the Boiler. We had infinite trouble in our Georgian cottage till we found the one man in Hampstead who understood the extraordinary course of the flues & got it right - The owners had never told us we must have him & no other.' In a later letter, written during the war, she writes of a servant: 'I quite deliberately left a letter from Faber lying about which said that the 1st. printing of my new book was sold out & they were doing another & would I buck up with another novel. Before that she was always coming into the room with questions. I won't say she doesn't do so oftener than I like still but now she whispers them which I feel a step in the right direction'. Some time around 1951 she congratulates him on his appointment as book reviewer on the Tatler: 'Yesterday when I was out to lunch my hostess suddenly produced the Tatler with your photo. I was so thrilled & I do hope you'll like the job (a rake in gold). Its so unselfish of me as Elizabeth Bowen often said nice things about my books & obviously I can never appear there again but all the same I am very glad if only it isn't too much work for you. I do imagine though that after a life of spinning something out of nothing it will be rather nice to sit down to a thing - certainly I've often felt it would be nice to do history again & have to spend lots of the time reading other people's stuff - not that I mean to compare my brain with yours for a moment.' Elsewhere she writes, regarding E. V. Knox's reviewing of Graham Greene's 'The End of the Affair' (1951): 'I am longing to ask E[thel] to send me the Tatler instead of Punch so that I can always see your reviews. I am longing to know what you think of Graham Green. [sic] What a drear round of locals & rain & no 7th. Commandment. If I want to read of these ladies I do so much prefer Gentlemen prefer Blondes & would anyone bother about a [Prot?] tart? But I do hate to think of you having to read it'. During the war she writes: 'Ronnie & Julian both apparently trust to Beveridge's £2 a week as neither imagine they will get jobs. Though Ronnie says sometimes that he is going straight to Russia - rather on a line I fear with Dilwyn & the East Indies of which I have been thinking so much & so miserably. I wrote to Olive the other day & got a piteous reply. They have called up her gardener who works the electric & water engine & she can't do either. However her fury has won him back for 2 days a week'. There are a number of references to Punch, of which E. V. Knox was editor from 1932 to 1949, including: 'That was a terribly good & awful poem of yours in Punch - Dear me, I wish it was 60 years ago & I 60 then, don't you? I can think of nothing more desirable just now than to have been dead for a nice long time.' Elsewhere she writes: 'There's such a hole when you're not in Punch.' Also a nice reference to 'Nanna': 'I think it was so typical that she always took her rest on that hard wooden settle in a draughty bow-window in the dining-room - there was reason against anything comfortable.' Problems with servants are another topic, as in the following: 'thank you awfully about the Czech call, but my departing cook is bequeathing us a friend of hers, a Swede, who'll be free to change in January & at the end of the week my last cook is returning to me temporarily. This apparent popularity in the diminishing slave class makes me realize that I must be sadly easy to cheat, but what is one to do when the doctor won't hear of my managing alone. Julian says Swedes are immoral but clean - Czechs mad & dirty. I had a Czech once who was clean & moral but you gave one an awful sense of attending Grand Opera all day as she sang unconstrainedly from morn till eve.' A ten-page letter from 18 Beckenham Grove, Shortlands, discusses 'E[thel]'s prospects after the death of her mother in 1946, with details of her financial situation and of Lady Peck's discussions with Ethel's bank Barclays. Also present is an ALS to 'Eddie' from Daisy Hewer, endorsed (not by E. V. Knox) 'death of Marjorie Newton | Mrs. K's sister.' From the E. V. Knox papers.