Really, I do.
I apologise to everyone: authors, illustrators, cover designers, and publishers. And their descendants. Families. Literary executors. Pets.
I apologise to all the Sunday Schools who gave these away as prizes for attendance, scripture knowledge, or what-have-you.
I apologise to all the little children who won them, read them, enjoyed them, and then gave them to charity forty years later, little thinking that they would one day be ‘rescued’ and displayed to the world in this heartless manner. (Though I don’t apologise to the charity book fairs or shops – I paid for them fair and square.)
I particularly apologise to the Scouting and Girl Guide movement. I know: it just sucks.
But I don’t just apologise to these multifarious persons. I also thank them. They can have no idea the pleasure they have wrought.
There are so many books on my shelves written in times and places where outward primness and/or a veneer of muscular Christianity (whatever one’s private thoughts) were social necessities. A time when everyone knew that providing the Young with Improving Literature was how you ensured that they would grow into Decent, Upright Chaps and Ladies.
For better and worse, these times are gone, and the Improving Literature all but forgotten. It is this, above all, that I treasure, rescue, and give a second life.
Also chortle over heartlessly.
But if you are wont to be upset or annoyed by vulgar slang and intimations that Improving Literature of the past 150 years was simply awash with queer sex, drugs, peccadillos, and anything else I can find, I heartily recommend that you not read this site.
But, then, really, it’s not my fault if you have a vulgar mind, is it?