Thursday, 26 September 2013

Under the frangipani

"Domenica was fussy about the circumstances in which she wrote. In Scotland Street, she would sit at her desk with a clean block of ruled foolscap paper in front of her and write on that, with a Conway Stewart fountain pen, in green ink.  There were those who said that writing in green ink was a sign of mental instability, but she had never understood the basis for this.  Green ink was attractive, more restful on the eye than an intense black, and she persisted with it.
Such rituals of composition were impossible in that small village near Malacca.

There, she made do with a simple, rather rickety table, which provided a surface for her French moleskin notebook and for a rather less commodious writing paper.  But there was still the Conway Stewart pen, and supplies of green ink, and it was with this pen that she now wrote a letter to James Holloway in Edinburgh.
'Dear James,' she began, 'I know that you are familiar with the Far East and will be able to picture the scene here --  the scene of me upon my veranda, at my table,  with a frangipani tree directly in front of me.'  "

Love over Scotland Street  A. McCall Smith


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