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jtI’ve been wanting to read Josephine Tey/Gordon Daviot’s Queen of Scots for ages, and never could – the only way, when you live in Italy, being to buy some insanely expensive old edition.

But I like Tey/Daviot’s plays, and I’ve loved her Dickon and her Richard of Bordeaux. It’s old-fashioned historical theatre the way I like it, the sort of plays that makes me wish I’d been there, in the West End, in the Thirties, when QoS premiered starring Gwen ffrangcon-Davies and Laurence Olivier, under the direction of John Gielgud.

So, as a last attempt before splurging, I decided to try for an international inter-library loan. I did my research, filled my form, and went to the library in town. The lady who presides over this kind of loans was sympathethic but not overly sanguine. British libraries, she said, are wary of entrusting their books to the Italian mail service – and small blame to them…21HI3cR5WtL

So, imagine my surprise when next day Ms. R. phoned to say she had my play – in pdf format. Only, it was rather bulky. Did I mind bringing a memory stick or something?

I didn’t mind, of course, and I am now the proud owner of a pdf of a 1934 Gollancz edition from the Bodleian Libraries – no less – which I will happily read over the weekend. Or more likely tonight.

And Ms. R. is an angel, and I love her dearly, and libraries are wonderful institutions, and how would we live without the net – and we all lived happily ever after.

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