The cygnet has gone to a good home, and I’ll miss it very much. I’m suddenly very tired. It made £11,760, which was a good price.
A few little dramas, but all went well in the end, although it was a bit stressful for Ro when the damn printer jammed. Still, no matter.
I had a little moment of good behaviour, when I was greeted by someone whom I’d met briefly in London back in June and whose name I’d taken to send a catalogue, and first I said “it’s Steven, isn’t it?” and then added his surname. He was pleased to be remembered and complimented my memory. I was able to reply that he’d evidently made an impression on me – so returning the compliment. I’ve found always that nothing is so delightful as being remembered. Recalling someone’s name does not come naturally to me, I do have to work at it, but it’s worth the effort.
Someone else came to the view – actually the Sage got things wrong there, because he got her name right but thought she was the daughter rather than the wife of someone … ouch. Worse, her husband had died. He didn’t get my *look* and in the end I had to say it, wife not daughter. Anyway, I was really sorry to hear the sad news. Mr Lamb had been my Latin teacher for only one year, in which I decided to change schools and take two extra A levels, one year after taking O level (the precursor of GCSE) – in Latin and French. He was lovely. A clever and erudite man and with an immense quiet charm. I learned a lot from him, and not just Latin, he was wise and someone to look up to. His first wife was in a mental institution, suffering from a degenerative condition (I don’t know what, but I’m guessing it was something like Huntingdon’s disease because his daughter died relatively young too). He remarried after her death, a much younger woman and they had a son, who went to the same prep school as El and Al.
Anyway, I had a chat with her and said how sorry I was and – because I stick my neck out and if that puts my foot in my mouth, it’s not meant to – I said that I knew he was a lot older than her and that I suppose she knew that she was likely to lose him, but that didn’t make it easier to bear and that I thought the world of him. I did, he became an antiquarian book dealer after taking early retirement from teaching, and so we kept in touch.
It was Mr Lamb who taught me to understand myself. Once, when talking about Horace, he said “‘ve always liked Horace. They say you have to be middle-aged to appreciate Horace, but I think I was born middle-aged”. This was a bit of a revelation. I suddenly understood why I didn’t feel quite right among my own age group. I hadn’t yet reached the age I was comfortable with. In fact, I started to feel at home when I got to 30.
Anyway, there we go. Another sale over. I’m going to bed.