JUNE 2008How tiny and random are the events that shape ourdestiny.By the time she left for the ofﬁce the next morning, ude had almost forgotten her dream. Waiting for the trainat Greenwich station, the sudden wail of a toddler brought backfragments of her distress, but by the time she reached Bond Streetthese too were displaced by other, more mundane worries. She hadno sense that something important was about to happen, somethingthat on the face of it was quite insigniﬁcant.It was Friday lunchtime in the Books and Manuscripts depart-ment of Beecham’s Auctioneers in Mayfair. She’d been sitting ather computer screen all morning, cataloging rare ﬁrst editions of eighteenth-century poets for a forthcoming sale. A painstaking job,it meant describing the contents of each slim volume, noting itscondition and recording any quirks or ﬂourishes— a handwrittendedication, say, or scribbled annotations— that might tickle theinterest of potential buyers. Annoying then, when anyone broke herconcentration.“ude.” Inigo, who inhabited the next desk in their open-planofﬁce, came over, clasping a mess of paper festooned with multi-colored sticky-backed notes. “Proofs of the September catalog.Where do you want them?”“Oh, thanks,” she murmured. “Give ’em here.” She dumpedthe pile on the already overﬂowing tray beside her computer, thenstarted to type another sentence. Inigo didn’t take the hint.