There's an old adage which says neither a borrower nor a lender be, which is good advice for everybody - unless of course one happens to be a public librarian. Borrowing and lending is always fraught with problems. For instance, why does your neighbour always return the lawnmower you leant him at the very moment when you just convinced your wife you can't cut the grass after all because he's still got it? And, and that suitcase you borrowed from your maiden aunt, why does she want it back just as you've finished packing? So that you have to go on your crafty weekend to Paris carrying your toothbrush and pyjamas in a paper carrier bag. Probably with Clutterbuck for Fresh Fish written across the side of it. Sometimes the return of one's property can cause much embarrassment, especially when it's been gone so long you've forgotten about it. This is the situation facing Mr Merrivale, the Director of Naval Expenditure, as he discusses it with the Admiral in Captain Povey's office.