*Helene Hanff, “84, Charing Cross Road” (1970).
From: Bohemia in London (1907), by Arthur Ransome:
“Where the Charing Cross Road swirls up by the Hippodrome in a broad curve to Cambridge Circus and Oxford Street, it drops, for the short space of a few hundred yards, all shout and merriment and boisterous efflorescence of business, and becomes as sedate and proper an old street as ever exposed books on open stalls to the public fingers. The motor-buses may rattle up the middle of the road on their rollicking dance to Hampstead, the horse-pulled buses may swing and roll more slowly and nearer the gutter; no matter, for the pavements are are quiet with learning and book-loving. All through the long summer afternoons, and in the winter, when the lamps hang over the shelves, books old, new, second and third hand, lie there in rows, waiting, these the stout old fellows, for Elias to carry them off under their arms; waiting, these the little ones, for other true book-lovers to pop them in their pockets.”