The book was little more than a sheaf of yellowed pages and Mac was waving it so excitedly that Inteachán thought it was bound to crumble at any moment and fall gently to the floor like a desiccated butterfly’s wing.

‘This is the original draft of what later became the 12th Earl of Silverhill’s seminal Perambulatem Canalis.’

Mac sat back down.

‘Published in 1783, the Perambulatem Canalis tells the story of one man’s obsession with culverts, conduits, and cloaca.

He pushed his glasses back onto his forehead and looked at Inteachán.

‘I’m feeling more like my old self again.’

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