Volunteering at CHL and Listening to the CHL Fellows’ Parting Presentations

As usual, I volunteered at Chawton House Library on Monday. In the morning, I opened the house and blogged (my blog will be featured on the CHL website next month). Then I sat in the Lower Reading Room and read a fabulous story by Maria Edgeworth called “The Good Aunt.” It was not what I expected! I expected to learn more about the aunt than I did, but what I did learn about her intrigued me.

Then over coffee and cake, I listened to the three fellows share what they worked on in the four weeks they spent at CHL, mostly in the Upper Reading Room. Jodi Wyett discussed her project on Frances Burney and Catholicism. Robin Runia described her work on Maria Edgeworth. Ros Powell talked about her research on analogies in scientific dialogues and poetry. Their projects are all outstanding, and I asked a few questions during the Q&A.

The fellows: Ros, Jodi, and Robin. Photo courtesy of CHL’s Facebook page.


Afterwards, I returned to the Lower Reading Room and greeted visitors who made their final stop of the day in this room of books. I always enjoy my time as a steward because I relish in sharing the pleasure people feel when they enter this space–it smells like old books, and people love that. It is kept behind a locked door, and people are intrigued by that. I am the gatekeeper, so to speak, on Monday, the guardian of the books, and it’s a special job. 🙂

To end my day, I close down the house. This means that I cover the cases, close the doors (and many rooms have two doors back to back), draw the curtains, and turn off the lights. From start to finish, a day of stewarding is becoming one with the house. We should all give that a try in our abodes, don’t you think? 😉


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