Yes, that’s right, proofs.
(And no, this is not a parody of that very gripping Dick Francis thriller…)
Proofs–bound, in print, the book-shaped thingie with the cover slapped on which is given to the author for that final, final look-see and edit.
Which is to say, mine of May 1812 were delivered. And I have now held the thing in my hands.
I have felt the weight of the paper. I have seen the dedication page and felt humbled because it is true. I have seen how the book is broken into segments by Wyatt’s poem, just as I always intended, or as it fell out because that’s what happened and I had nothing to do with it.
I have looked and looked at the exquisite work of the cover artist, at her inspired blending of the Grand Chiffre (yes, that is a page from Scoville’s actual notebook which she used there) and the portrait, and given thanks for her vision, skill and artistry.
I have read Myddelton’s words on the page and they look splendid there.
I am rejoicing and quiet.