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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM THOMAS HARDY

Whilst conducting our business in the fair Cathedral city of Winchester yesterday, the Mayor of Casterbridge and I were surrounded by a mighty press of persons in the vicinity of the shop of good Mr Waterstone, the book seller. I have had cause to frequent Mr Waterstone’s shop in my home town of Dorchester many times,for he purveys fine books of interest to the better sort of reader. Each person in this mighty throng carried a copy of a most unusual and interesting volume entitled ‘Dragonsong.’ So great was the throng, that the Mayor and I could scarce make our way through the door and into the shop. The Mayor, being a person of some consequence, cried ‘Make way! Make way’ and thrashed a few of the baser sort of fellows with his riding crop, thus affording us passage into Mr Waterstones’ shop. Therein we discovered the cause of the commotion, for inside Mr Michael Forester the author of Dragonsong was autographing copies of this remarkable book for wise purchasers intent on acquiring a first edition. Never one to miss an opportunity, the Mayor promptly pressed forward and purchased several copies, prevailing upon Mr Forester to visit Dorchester in the near future and there to undertake a similar autographing event to the great benefit of the burghers of our fair town. To the great delight of both myself and the Mayor, Mr Forester informed us that he will be signing Dragonsong in Mr Waterstone’s wonderful bookshop in Dorchester on Wednesday 1st June from 10 o’ clock in the morning time. The address of Mr Watetstone’s shop is 45-47 South Street Dorchester DT1 1DQ. I do impress on all better persons of the locale the importance of attending this most engaging and consequential event, in celebration of which the local schools have already declared a week’s holiday. Children are expected to attend in order to purchase the volume in furtherance of their educational pursuits. Tess Durbyfield will be leading a contingent from the milking parlour. Gabriel Oak has turned off the steam threshers in his fields in order to permit attendance by his workers. Sergeant Troy has promised to attend with a military band in full colours. You too, good reader, would be well advised to attend, for there is unlikely to be another event of this import within a day’s walking distance of Dorchester for many a month. God save our Queen.

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