Cus­tomer. [en­ter­ing the book­shop] Good morn­ing.

Pro­pri­etor. Good morn­ing, sir. Can I help you?

C. Er, yes. Do you have a copy of “Thir­ty Days in the Samarkind Desert with the Duchess of Kent” by a.e.j. Eliott, o.b.e.?

P. Ah, well, I don’t know the book, sir . . .

C. Er, nev­er mind, nev­er mind. How about “A Hun­dred and One Ways to Start a Fight”?

P. . . . By?

C. An Irish gen­tle­man whose name eludes me for the mo­ment.

P. Ah, no, well we haven’t got it in stock, sir . . .

C. Oh, well, not to wor­ry, not to wor­ry. Can you help me with “David Cop­er­field”?

P. Ah, yes, Dick­ens.

C. No . . .

P. [pause] I beg your par­don?

C. No, Ed­mund Wells.

P. I . . . think you’ll find Charles Dick­ens wrote “David Cop­per­field”, sir . . .

C. No, no, Dick­ens wrote “David Cop­per­field” with two Ps. This is “David Cop­er­field” with one P by Ed­mund Wells.

P. “David Cop­er­field” with one P?

C. Yes, I should have said.

P. Yes, well in that case we don’t have it.

C. [peer­ing over counter] Fun­ny, you’ve got a lot of books here . . .

P. [slight­ly per­turbed] Yes, we do, but we don’t have “David Cop­er­field” with one P by Ed­mund Wells.

C. Pity, it’s more thor­ough than the Dick­ens.

P. More thor­ough?!?

C. Yes . . . I won­der if it might be worth a look through all your “David Cop­per­field”s . . .

P. No, sir, all our “David Cop­per­field”s have two P’s.

C. Are you quite sure?

P. Quite.

C. Not worth just look­ing?

P. Def­i­nite­ly not.

C. Oh . . . how ’bout “Grate Ex­pec­ta­tions”?

P. Yes, well we have that . . .

C. That’s “g‐​r‐​a‐​t‐​e Ex­pec­ta­tions,” al­so by Ed­mund Wells.

P. [pause] Yes, well in that case we don’t have it. We don’t have any­thing by Ed­mund Wells, ac­tu­al­ly: he’s not very pop­u­lar.

C. Not “Knick­er­less Knick­le­by”? That’s k‐​n‐​i‐​c‐​k‐​e‐​r‐​l‐​e‐​s‐​s.

P. [tac­i­turn] No.

C. “Khrist­mas Karol” with a K?

P. [re­al­ly quite per­turbed] No . . .

C. Er, how about “A Sale of Two Tit­ties”?

P.def­i­nite­ly not.

C. [mov­ing to­wards door] Sor­ry to trou­ble you . . .

P. Not at all . . .

C. Good morn­ing.

P. Good morn­ing.

C. [turn­ing around] Oh!

P. [deep breath] Yesss?

C. I won­der if you might have a copy of “Rarn­a­by Budge”?

P. No, as I say, we’re right out of Ed­mund Wells!

C. No, not Ed­mund Wells⁠—​Charles Dikkens.

P. [pause⁠—​ea­ger­ly] Charles Dick­ens??

C. Yes.

P. [ex­cit­ed­ly] You mean “Barn­a­by Rudge”!

C. No, “Rarn­a­by Budge” by Charles Dikkens. That’s Dikkens with two Ks, the well‐​known Dutch au­thor.

P. [slight pause] No, well we don’t have “Rarn­a­by Budge” by Charles Dikkens with two Ks, the well‐​known Dutch au­thor, and per­haps to save time I should add that we don’t have “Karn­a­by Fudge” by Dar­les Chick­ens, or “Farmer of Sludge” by Mar­les Pick­ens, or even “Stick­wick Sta­pers” by Far­les Wick­ens with four M’s and a silent Q!!!!!
Why don’t you try w.h. Smith’s?

C. Ah did, They sent me here.

P.did they.

C. Oh, I won­der . . .

P. Oh, do go on, please.

C. Yes . . . I won­der if you might have “The Amaz­ing Ad­ven­tures of Cap­tain Gladys Stout­pam­phlet and her In­tre­pid Spaniel Stig Amongst the Gi­ant Pyg­mies of Beck­les” . . . vol­ume eight.

P. [af­ter a pause for re­cov­ery] No, we don’t have that . . . fun­ny, we’ve got a lot of books here . . . well, I mustn’t keep you stand­ing here . . . thank you,

C. Oh, well do, do you have⁠—​