It’s strangely difficult to find a suitable quote from HVM about Christmas, but I thought this one, from one of his most popular works, and one of my personal favourites, might set the mood. To me it captures a wonderful, entirely familiar, scene perfectly and is clearly written from the heart. I am struggling though, to remember the last time I heard a “warning ping” as I opened a shop door!
Morton prepares the scene by describing the “bookmen” as “the book readers, the book hunters, the book tasters, the book maniacs…” who haunt the bookshops of the bustling Charing Cross Road, London:
“Lost to the world that touches their elbows as they stand there, the bookmen pry and pore into the books, looking and seeking and sometimes even finding. I love to remember the hours I have spent there, perhaps on spring mornings, sometimes in winter, oblivious of cold feet, when the shop doors open to the warning ping of a little bell, and often in the evening when the lamps have been lighted and the titles shine out splendidly in gold, behind the plate-glass windows.“
from “In Search of London“, 1951, chpt 10
Wishing all members of the HV Morton Society and readers of the blog a very Merry Christmas and a good New Year,
Niall Taylor, Glastonbury, Somerset, England
This piece was originally distributed as HVM Society Membership Notice 2014-12-24