Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Cottage libraries

"There had been a time when the hamlet readers had fed on stronger food [than novelettes], and Biblical words and imagery still coloured the speech of some of the older people.  Though unread, every well-kept cottage had still its little row of books, neatly arranged on the side table with the lamp, the clothes-brush and the family photographs.  Some of these collections consisted solely of the family Bible and a prayer-book or two; others had a few extra volumes which had either belonged to parents or been bought with other oddments for a few pence at a sale -- The Pilgrim's Progress, Drelincourt on Death, Richardsons' Pamela,  Anna Lee: the Maiden Wife and Mother,  and old books of travel and sermons.  Laura's greatest find was a battered old copy of Belzoni's Travels propping open someone's pantry window.  When she asked for the loan of it, it was generously given to her, and she had the, to her, intense pleasure of exploring the burial chambers of the pyramids with her author."

Lark Rise  Flora Thompson

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