Unexpected Magic

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Fri May 14 07:13:04 EDT 2004

>> Many years ago I lent some books to a friend,
>> including Warlock at the Wheel, a hardback copy
>> of Angela Carter's Wise Children and several more
>> of value to me. A while later, when I saw her
>> husband at a party I remembered to ask for them
>> back "Oh," he said "I sold them."
>> "...........!!!" I replied but basically he
>> refused to comprehend that there was anything
>> wrong with selling books that someone else had
>> lent to your wife.

>Sounds like another case of justifiable homicide, to me.

The question would be whom to kill.  If I knew that my husband had sold
books I had borrowed from someone, I would tell the person I had borrowed
them from what had happened, and ideally I would have found copies of as
many of them as I could (perhaps by going to wherever they had been sold
and buying them back, or by putting frantic appeals onto the lists I am on,
or *somehow*) so that I could return those I was able to, and put down a
marker that I was going to find the others if I possibly could.

If your friend didn't know what was going on, the fact that he was alive to
go to the party means that killing her as well as him, razing their house
and sowing the land on which it had stood with salt would be not quite
correct action.  Had they separated, or had she died, or what?  Did you
ever see her again, and if so did *she* apologise for his action and for
having failed to stop him?

What ought to happen to someone like that is that he should be told bluntly
and truthfully "You sold books belonging to me without my permission, you
are a common thief", but perhaps you felt you had to be polite about it
because you were in someone else's house?  I would have demanded the money
he made from the sale, at least.  Loudly.  And refused to take a cheque on
the grounds that he was so dishonourable that I wouldn't trust him not to
bounce it.

What is wrong with selling goods that are the property of another is it is
theft.  If he couldn't understand anything less downright, being told he
was a thief might have given him a hint.

Or perhaps just taking all his clothes and selling them, and then being
insouciant about his indignation, might get the message through.  Even if
he thought books don't matter (and he knew they were worth money, or he
wouldn't have sold them) that might make him comprehend his fault.

What a crot-hound, though.  <hug> to the then-Ven, retrospectively.


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