I updated my list of vintage bestselling novels of 50 or more years ago that I haven’t been able to find yet and went to the Sidney Memorial Public Library annual booksale yesterday.
The notice on the library’s website did not specify where in the library the sale was to be held and there were no signs at the door off the parking lot. The circulation desk staff were all busy with other patrons, so I wandered back toward the community room.
The door to the community room was open. I could hear a woman lecturing. I thought I must have come to the wrong place, but when I changed my viewing angle, I could see tables of books, so I went in. I was the sole browser in the room.
What I had taken for a lecture turned out to be three women sitting at what could only be described as the head table, for the speaker was clearly a Personage. She spoke in a voice that brooked no contradiction.
Almost all of the fiction was recent and appeared to be library discards. The only vintage bestsellers I saw were The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Up the Down Staircase, neither of which I needed.
I admit I lingered longer than necessary, trying to place the lecturer. I felt sure she was someone I’d met before.
She had been discussing The Correct Attitude Toward Homosexuality when I arrived, moved on to describing Hearst Castle, and was starting on The Role of Sculpture in the Formal Garden when the name came to me.
She was none other than Lady Catherine de Bourgh of Roslings.