Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday after the BL

Just wanted to give a quick follow-up on the rest of my day at the British Library. It turned out that the "Three-Quarter" manuscript, designated "Select" by the library, had been sitting in the service area the entire time. A light at my desk was supposed to alert me to its readiness, but such light never shone. But no damage done. I had the chance to see the manuscript anyway. That was after having an afternoon coffee/tea break with Kimberly. I gave her an update on my travels and we had another good chat. I'm really glad we could get together for a second time before I head back home. She's off giving a lecture tomorrow; I'm sure it will go well for her.

After coffee/tea it was back to the manuscript reading room and a chance to look at the "Missing Three-Quarter" work. As you may have noted from the BL catalog description I posted earlier, it was a joint gift to the library, representing both sides of the Pond. It includes Vincent Starrett's bookplate and autograph along with a separate dedication/gift page from the donors. The binding, in vellum, is similar to other ACD manuscripts that I've seen, including our own "Horror of the Heights." I needed to return the manuscript (and get back my reader's card in exchange) a half-hour before the reading room closed, so I was back to the desk just before 4:30. From there it was back to the locker room to collect the rest of my things and then spend a little time out-of-doors on the plaza before meeting Catherine and Andrew.

The three of us met about an hour later; Andrew treated us to coffee (and me a muffin) from the BL cafe. We found a table (it was quite busy when we arrived) and had a good conversation for almost the next two hours. We talked about my visit to Portsmouth, the upcoming conference at Harvard and other things Holmesian and literary. Andrew gave a talk at the BL about a week ago for the Friends of the British Library. We caught up on other threads and before we knew it the time had flown. My only regret was that I'd forgotten to pack the Norwegian Explorers pin to give to Catherine; it was still back in my room. I'll either drop it off at the library tomorrow or give it to her at Harvard in May.

In some ways its hard to believe that I have just one full day left in London before its time to go home. In other ways I'm ready to pack up, head home and stop living out of a suitcase. I've got a few more sights/sites to check out tomorrow (given to me by friends both before and during the trip) related to Holmes. I'm planning on doing those later in the day; the Tower of London is calling and will most likely be the first thing on the agenda. No pictures today. I'm sure there will be some tomorrow. Time to put up my feet.

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