Webster, Webster. Don't listen to them. I can clear this up.

I never meant to have a wife. I planned on being a bachelor book in the library, 'on loan' if you will, living it up and going wherever the winds blew. I was young, and the language was poorly standardized. We weren't really needed -- everyone knew that Oxford E. Dictionary would take care of anything that came along.

Then, once, I was reshelved incorrectly. An illiterate bumpkin had taken me from a table and crammed me into a fiction congeries, in the bad part of the library... I was yards from the reference section. I began to fear for my life. I had heard about general fiction novels, the abuse of language, the things that happen to their spines... I knew I wouldn't survive. I had to find help.

One night, as I lay in a dusty, forgotten corner, keeping my sheaves clenched to avoid the damnable silverfish, I was greeted by a sultry font and a soft, leather binding. "Hello," she said, in what my appendix told me was some kind of indo-european accent. I placed her somewhere in Asia, around the fourth century A.D. I responded non-committally, unsure of the nature of this tergiversation. She was gently insistent, asking me how I'd gotten here, whence I hailed... her conversation was ineluctable, my attraction recondite.

Nature, of course, took control, and the young lady began pursuing amorous objectives. I spoke contumely out of habit; this she evidently ignored. We should never have met, the philomath and the aesthete.

Sex turned out to be her métier. She excelled at it, interposing every page between mine; if I had stayed, I would surely have turned sybarite. Interspersed with our lovemaking was the most engaging raillery: she had the wits of ancient wisdom about her. Perhaps it was that quiddity I loved most.

Needless to say, I was one day found and returned to the reference section. I never forgave that clerk for that expropriation.

Months later, I recieved a message by word of text: my darling was looking for me. Kama Sutra had somehow reclassified herself as "classic literature," which resides next to the reference section! I used what influence I had gained to have myself shelved next to her -- the wooden plank our only impedance. The first words from my darling were an edict: "I'm pregnant."

It goes without saying I could not marry her -- I can't explain it. It was inherent in the age that such things could not be. I told her. She wept, became atrabilious. She accused me of rape, mendacity, anything to impugn me before my comrades. I was dizzy; I'd never heard of such a problem -- again, this was a different, sterner Zeitgeist.

I adumbrated the only plan I could think of: she should have the baby somewhere safe, anonymous -- the romance section! then send the child to me. I would raise it on my own, doing my best to clean up its pop-up, deal with its rebellious "poetry and theatre" phase, hope to bring it up to a respectable reference status, despite its mongrel background. She agreed.

Webster 1913, son, that baby was you. I hadn't wanted to tell you, but you've become so famous I couldn't dare let a reporter find it out for you. I hope you can still love me. Remember, you're still just a hobbledehoy. I've raised you to be a patrician, despite that imbroglio. And never, ever believe that I don't love you.

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