A century ago, you might have noticed a very large clergyman in Oxford, pretty well any day of the week, hurrying along the Broad Street and then down the Cornmarket; books under his arm.
He will have been in transit from 53 Broad Street to the Boots store in the Corn. 53 Broad Street was the last private residence in the Broad, squashed between Trinity and Blackwells (Trinity bought the Vicar out by providing instead the present Mags Vicarage in Beaumont Street).
No; this was not Dr Jalland and so the books did not relate to Jalland's researches on S Leo the Great or the Papacy. And the cleric was not heading for pharmaceutical reliefs; because, until 1966, Boots the Chemists maintained a Lending Library. (One might, of course, have ordered up anything one chose to read in Bodley, but both Town and Gown found Boots very handy.)
On my own shelves, I have a First Edition of Dorothy Sayers' Gaudy Night, with the evidence of it having been in the Boots Library. No; there is little point in burgling me and liberating the book; it has been so intensively used as to be totally disintegrated and without monetary value; indeed, it was rebound while still owned by Boots. But considering the Oxonian themes of the novel, I cherish it.
And I feel pretty sure that it must have been handled by Fr Hack.
He was Vicar of my own S Thomas's; and subsequently of Mags. He is still remembered for observing, as he walked in either direction along the Broad, "This hill will be the death of me"[it is totally flat], and for hating to be called 'Father'. He affected 'Tractarian' mannerisms; he always wore a frock coat on the grounds that it was improper for a priest to show his bottom. (I shall not enable indecorous comments.)
He felt that the role of women in Church was to be on their knees praying or scrubbing; he felt it important for "Children's corners" to be equipped with birch rods.
Quite rightly, he took food seriously. And he had an agreeable habit of leaving his churches more baroque than he had found them.