Well, he came back to the shop, the man who had to allow his library to go under the hammer at the auction all those years ago.
He came back because he is going to build another library and he chose without hesitation copies of The Mill on the Floss, Tom Jones and Vanity Fair. And when I examined each one slowly to make sure that I could actually allow them to go ( as he had heartlessly chosen the most attractive copies in the shop ) he told me a story about each of these books – he had read them all, several times over! This customer was wearing a knitted jumper with leather patches on the elbows and he leaned on the counter, on his elbows to tell the stories, especially urging me to read Tom Jones which was exceedingly funny. When he told the stories of the story of Vanity Fair he stood up and held onto his glasses with both hands, trying with difficulty to keep himself anchored on the mere ground which is far too ordinary a place to stand when you are trying to talk about Vanity Fair and Becky Sharp.
He said he now can only read with one eye.
He told me about Middlemarch, Far From the Madding Crowd and Madam Bovary.
He said that reading with one eye or three eyes, makes no difference when you are reading books as good as these. That you can still see everything.
Sculpture by Emily Blincoe