An honourable profession
My mind has turned to honour this week as I finished a book I last read when I was around 16. I came across Stanley J. Weyman’s “Under the Red Robe” while hunting (as we do) in a second hand book shop and remembered how much I had enjoyed it. First published around the turn of the last century the action takes place in the time of the feared Cardinal Richelieu and his harsh suppression of the Huguenots and, apart from being a very good read, the book is a wonderful evocation of the codes of a time when honour was more important than life and a man’s “parole” could be relied upon. Although rarely read these days, the author was very popular 90 years ago and both Oscar Wilde and Graham Greene were fans. I now feel compelled to re-read other books of the same period (those wonderful Geste brothers beckon me again) although I am conscious that my reading seems to be going backwards in time and I shall have to get Sue to pull me back into the 21 century for fear I will be attempting to decipher illuminated manuscripts before too long (not to mention talking in a very strange way).
But there is something in the relationship between books and honour I think (isn’t one instinctively trusting of someone with their nose in a book?) and certainly bookbinding like other traditional skills has a high degree of integrity in its execution. Our binders excel at their craft and would not countenance letting a binding leave their work bench until it had reached their exacting standard – it is a pleasure to see how they give the closest attention to each small detail. We share that desire to produce only the best and to inspire those unfamiliar with the craft to appreciate the timeless, honest, quality of a bound book