They have a smell all of their own – and a feel and a certain character to them. Ancient dust, brittle paper, long loved volumes. The books, so very very many of them, are all now shelved. I think I qualify as a Bibliophile. Iain said this afternoon during a pause in the action. Oh! and here, grasping a desperately ancient volume, is the very first book I ever bought – I was nine. Canada (Romance of Empire) by Beckles Wilson written around 1900. Here is a sampling from Chapter V: The Founding of Montreal.
Of all the great cities of the world you will not find one that has had so romantic a beginning as Montreal. The stories sent home by the Jesuits had stirred all France, and made the more pious and enterprising spirits more than ever resolved to teach the wicked redskins (ahem!) a lesson in Christianity and plant the fear of God in their hearts. The French said they did not believe in treating the savages (double ahem) of the New World in the cruel way the Spaniards had done in Peru and Mexico; They preferred to win them over to civilised ways by kindness and the force of good example.
There we have it. What can I say? Sorry Canada. If we knew then what we know now, things may well have turned out differently. Hopefully.
When Iain returns to his wife and home in Japan at the end of the month I will come back to the books, and house. If all goes to plan I will manage to carve out about six weeks of rest/renewal/retreat time before flying to…Canada! So my labours of the past week are of mutual benefit.
This post is for Tom in Canada who loves books.