Linda gave me the ancient red-covered copy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream when I transferred from Nyack to Hopkins. It was fragile then; now 39 years later, the binding has totally failed, and the covers are loose. A previous owner, Elizabeth Mayberry, confidently signed the first page. Her script looks old, and formal. Under that Linda wrote, in tiny, precise letters:
Act V, scene i
The little volume is from the collection The Temple Shakespeare Books, with a print date of 1915. Priscilla Guthrie’s Book-Shop, at William Penn Place in Pittsburgh, sold it. I know this because inside the back cover is a tiny glued stamp advertising the shop.
I wish I had wrapped it up in acid-free paper, and stored it carefully against time. But instead the small book bounced along through all these years, unprotected. I wouldn’t dream of leaving it behind. It will be with me at the end of all words.