Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A nib at Brighton Rock

"No ring?" the registrar asked sharply?"We don't need any ring," the Boy said. "this isn't a church," feeling he could never now rid his memory of the cold green room and the glassy face.The registrar said, "You sign her. The charge is seven and sixpence." He wore an air of official unconcern while Mr Prewitt fumbled.He took the pen and the Government nib scratched into the page, gathering fur; in the old days, it occurred to him, you signed covenants like this in your blood.

Graham Greene, Brighton Rock, first published 1938, Kindle edition.

More on government-issued writing implements here  or check out the HMSO collection here. Nib pictured was produced for His Majesty's Stationery Office by Perry & Co.


  1. "Tiffin" is a word Graham Greene taught me in one of his essays. Anglo-Indian origin, I think. It's a meal, a snack, something between breakfast and lunch. Not sure of current usage.

    Would Palimpsest object to a suggestion to boost readership of this very good blog? Encourage readers to submit a post title, and see if Palimpsest has something to post that more or less fits the title. I'll kick-start the idea: "A Stranger in Barking". (I had a cousin who lived in Barking for years.) Maybe you'd need some elementary rules to make the idea work.

    I'm not sure it's a good idea, or a bad one, but thought I'd mention it. Jack/USA

  2. Thanks for your suggestions, Jack. There is an Indian takeaway chain in London called The Tiffin Tin.