[Sir Edward Marsh, Winston Churchill's friend and private secretary, classical scholar, patron of Georgian poetry.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Eddie Marsh') to W. J. MacQueen-Pope, praising his biography of his friend Ivor Novello. With copy of reply.

Sir Edward Marsh [Sir Edward Howard Marsh] (1872-1953), civil servant, promoter of Georgian poetry, classical scholar, friend and secretary to Winston Churchill [W. J. MacQueen-Pope; Ivor Novello]
Publication details: 
Marsh's letter 19 November 1951; 86 Walton Street, SW3 [London]. Copy of MacQueen-Pope's reply: 21 November 1951; 359 Strand, WC2.
SKU: 22918

ONE: Marsh to MP. 19 November 1951. 2pp, 8vo. In fair condition, lightly aged, with light rust spotting from paper clip. Folded twice. Pencil note by MP. Marsh begins his letter: 'My dear Popie. | Very many thanks indeed for the book. It came on Saturday, & I read nothing else till I finished it this morning. Very many congratulations too, your Achievement story is itself a big achievement, & everyone who loved Ivor will be grateful to you for it. You can imagine how many memories it revived in me, & how much it added to my Knowledge. Thank you also for all that you have said about me - & for doing such full justice to my beloved Christopher.' (The reference is to his friend and future biographer Christopher Hassall, whose fifteen-year association with Novello had begun with him acting as his understudy, followed by successful collaboration on the 1935 musical 'Glamorous Night'.) He finds MP's 'treatment of the tragedy [i.e. wartime imprisonment for misuse of petrol coupons] [...] just what it should be' and 'wonderfully well told', with the account of Novello's 'sufferings in prison almost unbearable - I had dimly realized the part the Padre had played, but the details were new - he deserves the crown you give him'. He continues with discussion of MP's treatment of Novello's relations with his adopted sister Marie ('she never wore his affection out. I remember his saying one day when we were all deploring her the difference is that none of you love her, & I do'). He makes 'one or two comments on points of fact', the first of the three being to point out that he went with Novello to Bow Street Magistrates Court, 'about some irregularity in running the Forty-Fifty Club'. Assuming that the book 'will be reprinted again & again', he corrects 'two little misprints', and ends with 'One more word of the gloriously exciting way in which you describe his great occasions in the theatre'. TWO: Unsigned Carbon Copy of MP's reply. 21 November 1951. 1p, 4to. On aged and creased paper. Begins: 'My Dear Eddie Marsh | My blessings on you for your charming letter. If you approve, then I have done my job. I was waiting anxiously for your verdict. Now I have it | I knew about Ivor and the 50-50 but suppressed it. A previous appearance at Bow Street would have spoilt the drama - and at any rate it was hardly an offence.' He has noted the 'misprints and mistakes', 'most of them already altered for the next reprint. In such a long book, written at speed, and with the publishers standing over me and taking it almost page by page as I wrote, the wonder is that we did not make more slips. Even so - three people read the proofs - which just goes to show how easy it is for them to slip by.'