Nelly Ratcliffe

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Nelly Ratcliffe
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Ratcliffe, Nelly
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She is the wife of the original Vladimir Kyrilytch and mother of the second. She is the daughter of a Virginia farmer who hid and fed the Russian-born mercenary soldier when he escaped from an American prison during the Revolutionary War. At some point they married, and began the line of "V.K."s that culminates in the character readers meet frequently in the fictions. As her story is told in The Townand repeated in The Mansion, her maiden name was Ratcliffe, and the couple adopted it as their married name. Over time, the "c" and "e" were dropped from the spelling.