Margaret, Spinster, Dies (March 7 1925)

Nancy (McNeilage’s daughter) writes:

“ … I have been greatly grieved to learn that “Margaret” died suddenly early on Sabbath morning. For the last four months, Margaret has been lying in Whitehaven Infirmary, making a slow and tedious recovery from a serious illness; but, although it was slow, we never doubted, nor did she, that her recovery was certain. A week or two ago, she wrote telling me she had caught a chill, and had been threatened with pleurisy, and she asked me to write the Household Column for her until she was better. Last Saturday, I had a postcard from her asking me to continue writing for another week or maybe two, as the weather was too cold to allow of her exposing her arms. I never dreamed then that the last article signed by Margaret had been written. But it was so; and with her passing The Scottish Farmer has lost one of its most brilliant contributors. In culture of style, clarity of thought and intellectual power her articles far surpassed those generally written on women’s topics. If she had not been so diffident about her own abilities, one feels sure she would have found her way into the front rank of present-day writers and would have found enthusiastic readers in a wider public. Perhaps she made her widest appeal in writing about children. Like Barrie, she possessed an almost uncanny understanding of the working of their minds. Very few writers have the gift she had of writing realistically about them. But I do not need to tell readers of The Scottish Farmer how able she was. You have been privileged to receive the fruits of her well-stored mind almost since the inception of the paper and it would be superfluous for me to tell you what you already know. The first time I met “Margaret” was when she came to lecture to the Glasgow Discussion Society, fully nine years ago. The impression I formed then was that she was a very shy and very gifted lady, and on closer acquaintance that impression deepened. All through the long weary months that she has lain in the Infirmary, there has been no word of complaint in her letters about the loneliness and exhaustion that she must have endured. Gratitude for kindness shown to her by personal friends and by friends unknown to her whose affection and esteem she had won through the medium of this column was the uppermost thought in her mind. But the uppermost thought in ours to-day is regret that we did so little to alleviate the burden she bore so bravely.

Nancy.

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