[Lady Margaret Sackville, poet and children's author, mistress of Ramsay MacDonald.] Typescript of juvenile novel 'Sylvia Thistledown', with autograph emendations, regarding the advetures in Fairy-land of Amelia Egerton and the fairy of the title.

Lady Margaret Sackville (1881-1963), English poet and children’s author, who had an affair with Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, daughter of Earl De La Warr, cousin of Vita Sackville-West
Publication details: 
On front cover: 'Margaret Sackville | 22. Lansdowne Terrace | Cheltenham'. Undated, but date stamped 30 November 1945.
SKU: 20881

According to the Daily Telegraph, 2 November 2006 (see the end of this description), Lady Margaret Sackville was 'a poet who mixed with writers such as W B Yeats and Wilfred Scawen Blunt, was a friend of Lady Ottoline Morrell, a leading member of the Bloomsbury Set'. 167pp., 4to. Each page on the recto of a separate leaf, the whole bound with green thread through punch holes in margins. The first page worn and with label (of literary agent?) removed from head, otherwise in good condition, lightly aged and worn. In worn brown paper wrapping, strengthened at spine with clear tape, bearing the authorship inscription 'Margaret Sackville | 22. Lansdowne Terrace | Cheltenham', and the date stamp '30 NOV 1945'. In seven chapters: 'The Birthday', 'Sylvia Takes Charge', 'The Other Side of the Picture', 'Infectious Laughter', 'Aunt Ada's Great Adventure', Midsummer Visitors', ' 'Mr. Widdershins – The Real Angelica'. Deletions and emendations in black ink throughout. A charming juvenile novel, filled with gentle humour characteristic of the British upper classes and the period before the Second World War. The influence of Lewis Carroll is discernable, but Sackville is an good and original author in her own right. Amelia Egerton is rescued from her unhappy life with her cruel Aunt Ada by the fairy Sylvia Thistledown, with whom Amelia escapes to Fairy-land by stepping through a 'Christmas Picture-Calendar'. At the start of the novel we learn that Amelia's father, Sir Edward Poole Egerton, has stipulated in his will that 'If at seventeen, Amelia is as plain as her present appearance promises she will be, let her continue as Amelia; there is no help for it. If beautiful she shall become Angelica.' He has left Amelia 'a meagre income – enough to live on but only just enough – whereas to Angelica was bequeathed oh! Quite a lot of money, all of which if she, Angelica, never did appear, was to go half to Aunt Ada and half to the Home of Lost Dogs. “Amelia will not need money” Sir Edward had said “a plain life matches plain looks”. Aunt Ada agreed.' The first paragraph gives a good impression of the tone: 'Although Aunt Ada was so terribly particular about not wasting gas, and it was only five o'clock – three hours and a half before breakfast-time – Amelia, feeling rebellious, struck a match and turned it on. After all, it was her birthday. The extra gas consumed might almost be counted as a present. Aunt Ada didn't approve of electric light because maids are so careless and, although, goodness knows, the gas bills were quite heavy enough, electric ones would ruin her altogether. So Amelia fumbled with the gas jet. It always gave a bad-tempered pop as though it resented being lighted. Amelia handled it bravely yet cautiously. When the dull, blue flame condescended to burn without further fuss, Amelia could not help feeling that she and Joan of Arc had much in common. | Amelai wondered gloomily, what sort of unappetising object her Aunt would bestow upon her this year. On her last birthday she had been given a hair-brush which had shed its bristles after three weeks' use. […]' The final paragraph sums everything up: 'Whatever Old Willum may say, fairies have their uses, even though they may be working magic chiefly for their own amusement. Cut Sylvia Thistledown out altogether and what a dull story this would be! It is through her – even Old Willum can't deny it – that Aunt Ada and Mr. Widdershins have lived happily for ever after. Because if Aunt Ada hadn't found her ship, she would still be just disagreeable Aunt Ada and Mr. Widdershins would never have wanted to marry her. So they owe a lot to Sylvia Thistledown – more than any of them, except Amelia – now Amalia – will ever know.' The item is accompanied by a cutting of a Daily Telegraph article, 2 November 2006, titled 'Secret love affair of Labour Prime Minister and Lady Margaret is revealed 80 years on | Newly-discovered intimate letters show Ramsay MacDonald proposed three times during a passionate 15-year romance'.