3 thoughts on “I love old books”

  1. It’s interesting to think about the point at which a book changes from being tatty and unpleasant to being genuinely old and interesting. I have a few antiquarian books and I love their age and character, but a yellowing old paperback? Not so much.

    Back when I was researching my novel about Robert Burns’s wife, Jean Armour, I was allowed to look at the parish records for 1786, a turbulent year for the couple. She was expecting the poet’s twins, out of wedlock. He had wanted to marry her but her father fainted at the news and forbade the marriage. She should have had to stand up in the kirk to be publicly admonished, according to the strict rules of the time, but the minister, definitely one of the good guys, wouldn’t allow it. The parish records contain her letter of contrition which the minister had copied into the book – but she had signed it herself. Of all the pages, that one only is blotted and smudged – and I’m almost certain that she was weeping when she signed it. It all worked out for the couple, but only after the birth of two sets of twins!

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