Miz Peggy

Penelope Gilliatt

  • The Road to Tara: The Life of Margaret Mitchell by Anne Edwards
    Hodder, 369 pp, £9.95, July 1983, ISBN 0 340 32348 5

From Anne Edwards’s biography of Margaret Mitchell, we know that Peggy Mitchell had ‘sailor-blue eyes’. We also know that she stood four feet eight, which is mighty small for the militant author of Gone with the Wind. At this size she mounted, or climbed up a ladder to, a large horse. Wheeling him (fervently: her whole life was led in adverbs) and crying ‘Look at me!’ to the South in general, she fell off. The horse landed on top and she had a leg injury that forced her into orthopaedic shoes for the rest of her life. She wore a bow on one side of her hair for the premiere of her film: infant star, around forty. By this time, her book was well over a thousand pages long, but she was no taller. Even if this Minnie Mouse of a figure was wearing stiletto heels under her orthopaedic shoes, which one suspects in the light of her many disguises, she would never have stood more than four feet eight. She liked dancing the tango in those shoes, in a black satin dress slit up to her knees. One wishes there were a photograph of this wild Depression sight.

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