Jeff Grant


I first met Great Uncle Derwent and Great Aunt Dolly when I was a young boy. Already mad about words, it didn't take me long to discover the treasure in their bookcase. On the bottom shelf, looking slightly worse for wear, was "The Encyclopaedic Dictionary," published between 1886 and 1890, by Cassell and Company of London, Paris and New York. I spent an hour poring over the first of its seven volumes, eagerly examining the unfamiliar terms and admiring the many detailed illustrations. The old man couldn't help but notice my fascination, even though he was engaged in a lively conversation with my parents while I was away in another world. He told us he wished we could have the dictionary, but it had be promised to another relation.