From "Slipstream", the memoir of Elizabeth Jane Howard

Tags: Reminiscences

Elizabeth Jane Howard, Slipstream: A Memoir, pp 142-3.

There was Peter Tranchell, another Cambridge friend. He turned up one afternoon - I'd never seen him before - and said, 'Is Wayland here?' I said no, he wasn't, but that he did come sometimes. 'All right, I'll wait.' And he did - for days.

He was a composer, and sat in my grandmother's huge chair enveloped in a mothy fur coat - the house was always cold - writing music. He introduced me to the works of the novelist Ronald Firbank, and the Russian/Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian. He was very funny and had a faintly devilish appearance. We called him Mephi, and he used to write me long, nonsensical letters in his large, sprawling hand. Sometimes the paper would be scorched and he would put 'pardon my enthusiasm' in the margin.

My grandfather's grand piano was still in the drawing room, and was much played, by Dosia, by Wayland, by Mephi, by me, and sometimes by Denis Matthews when he came on leave.