Susanna here, with a post from the road—I’m currently in Scotland doing research for the new novel, The Vanished Days (a sort-of-prequel to The Winter Sea) and since my much-beloved Microsoft Surface laptop/tablet thingy, which fits so perfectly into my handbag for traveling, is old and cranky and had updated itself one too many times and no longer connects to the Internet, I’m forced to rely on my iPhone to compose this post, so apologies in advance for any irregularities.
I was going to try to give you a proper travelogue post with a look at a few of the places I’ve been visiting, but when I tried to do that a couple of days ago, my iPhone decided it was too long and promptly ate the post, so I’ll try something shorter this time, so as not to irritate it…
One of the most interesting and out of the ordinary places I’ve been to is Innerpeffray Library, in Perthshire. It’s the oldest public lending library in Scotland, founded in 1680 by David Drummond, 3rd Lord Madertie and brother-in-law to the Marquess of Montrose (who was a Graham—the kinsman and friend of the father of “my” Colonel Graeme, the real-life character who features in a couple of my novels and this new one).
David Drummond’s library was started in the church in the photo at the top of this post, in this small upper room, where the original library was kept and managed.
But in 1739, the library was inherited by Robert Hay Drummond, who decided that space was inadequate for the collection and set about having a proper library built, which was completed in 1762. It’s as close to library perfection as I’ve ever seen.
It still houses the Founder’s original collection of books from the 16th and 17th century, but has also been added to over the years to create an exceptionally fine and uniquely Scottish collection.
But my favorite item fits practically into the palm of my hand—the Bible that once belonged to the Marquess of Montrose, who carried it with him everywhere, even into battle. His personal handwritten mottos and notes are still there in the pages, and being allowed to hold it was like reaching back through time and touching him, if only for a moment.
That, to me, is truly immortality.
Do you have a favorite old book that connects you to someone?