'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

May 7, 2016

Libraries in books...



She turned, to consider another choice of doors, and opening one and then another, found herself in the library. It was not, perhaps, such a random choice. Houses have patterns and proper 'houses,' even modest ones (like Beechwood or Upleigh), had their libraries. In any case she was glad it was where she found herself to be.
      Libraries too -- libraries especially -- had normally to be entered with such deliberate knocking and caution, though, as often as not, judging by the one at Beechwood, there was actually no one inside. Yet even when empty they could convey the frowning implication that you should not be there. But then a maid had to dust -- and, my, how books could gather dust. ... and the point of libraries, she sometimes thought, was not the books themselves but that they preserved this hallowed atmosphere of not-to-be-disturbed male sanctuary.
    So, few things cold be more shocking than for a woman to enter a library naked. The very idea.
    The Beechwood library had its wall's worth of books, most of which (a maid knows) had hardly ever been touched. But in one corner, near a buttoned-leather sofa, was a revolving bookcase (she liked to twirl it idly when she was cleaning) in which were kept books that clearly had been read. Surprisingly, in such a grown-up place, they were books that harked back to childhood, books that she imagined might once have flitted between the library and those silent rooms upstairs. They were even a few books that looked newly and hopefully purchased, but never actually begun.
      Rider Haggard, G.A Henry, B.M. Ballantyne, Stevenson, Kipling ... She had good reason to remember the names and even the titles on some of the books. The Black Arrow, The Coral Island, King-Solomon's Mines ... She would always see their grubby, frayed dust jackets or the exact coloration of their cloth bindings, the wrinklings and fadings of their spines.
      Of all rhe rooms at Beechwood, in fact, the library, for all its daintingness, was the one she most liked to clean. It was the room in which she most felt like some welcome, innocent thief.

from Mothering Sunday, by Graham Swifr


(the painting is by Carl Vilhelm Holsoe, found on Pinterest)

1 comment:

JoAnn said...

Almost the first thing I did when we got home was put my name on the library hold list for this book! I'm second in line and can't wait to read it.

Thank you for visiting!

Card Catalog

#6barsets #emma200th #maisie #PalliserParty #Woolfalong A.A. Milne Agatha Christie Alexander McCall Smith Amy Lowell Angela Thirkell Ann Bridge Anne Perry Anthony Trollope Anticipation Armchair Travels Art Audiobooks Barbara Pym Biography Bloomsbury Bookish things Boston British Library Crime Classics Cambridge Cathleen Schine Charles Dickens Charlotte Bronte Coffee-table books Cookbooks D.E. Stevenson Deborah Crombie Donna Leon Dorothy L. Sayers E.H. Young E.M. Forster Edith Wharton Elinor Lipman Elizabeth Gaskell Elizabeth Jenkins Elizabeth Taylor Elizabeth von Arnim Emily Dickinson Ernest Hemingway Eudora Welty Fiction Films Food from Books Food Writing Found on a Blog George Eliot Georgette Heyer Helen Ashton Henry James History Homes and Haunts Ideas Imogen Robertson Isabella Stewart Gardner Jacqueline Winspear Jane Austen Joanna Trollope Julia Child Language Laurie Colwin Letters Library Books Literature Louise Andrews Kent Louise Penny M.F.K. Fisher Madame Bovary Madame de Sévigné Madame de Staël Margaret Kennedy Margery Sharp Mary Shelley Memoirs Miss Read My Year with Edith Mysteries Nathaniel Hawthorne Nonfiction Nook Only Connect P.D. James Paris in July Persephones Plays Poetry Pride and Prejudice 200 Queen Victoria R.I.P. Reading England 2015 Ruth Rendell Sarah Orne Jewett Short Stories Switzerland Sylvia Beach Team Middlemarch The 1924 Club the Carlyles The Classics Club Thomas Hardy Virago Virginia Woolf Washington Irving Willa Cather William Maxwell Winifred Peck Winifred Watson