Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
Margaret Ogilvy
J. M. Barrie (1860–1937)
Margaret Ogilvy, by J. M. Barrie (1896). This is Barrie’s loving tribute to the memory of his fond mother, who, according to an old Scotch custom, was called by her maiden name, Margaret Ogilvy. “God sent her into the world,” he says, “to open the minds of all who looked to beautiful thoughts.” Margaret was a great reader; she would read at odd moments, and complete, the ‘Decline and Fall’ in a single winter. It was her delight to learn scraps of Horace from her son, and then bring them into her conversation with “colleged men.”  1
  Barrie, after leaving the university, enters journalism, and his proud mother cherishes every scrap he has written. She laughs when she sees the title of ‘An Auld Licht Community’ in a London paper, and is eager to know if her son receives pay for such an article, being greatly amazed to learn that this is the best remunerated of all his writing. “It’s dreary, weary, up-hill work, but I’ve wrastled through with tougher jobs in my time, and please God, I’ll wrastle through with this one,” said a devout lady to whom some one had presented one of Barrie’s books. He feared that his mother wrestled with his writings in the same spirit.  2
  Margaret was a great admirer of Carlyle, but her verdict of him was “I would rather have been his mother than his wife.” She always spoke of “that Stevenson” with a sneer, but could not resist reading ‘Treasure Island’ and his other books. Barrie asks, “What is there about the man that so infatuates the public?” His mother’s loyal reply is, “He takes no hold of me; I would hantle rather read your books.” Margaret is greatly pleased and very proud to find herself so often depicted in her son’s books. She affects not to recognize it, but would give herself away unconsciously. She says, chuckling, “He tries to keep me out, but he canna; it’s more than he can do.”  3
  At the ripe age of seventy-six, Margaret Ogilvy peacefully passed away. Her last words were “God” and “love”; and her son adds, “I think God was smiling when he took her to him, as he had so often smiled at her during these seventy-six years.”  4

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