What a joy it is to receive one of Mr Zealley's* catalogues! I have, in the past, equipped myself with Mgr Knox's Essays in Satire, Pilgrimage to Barsetshire, Signa severa and Let dons delight from this admirable and civilised source. But ... £6,000 ... no; it is not so much the price that is the problem. Rather more the difficulty, how and where would I house 221 gigantic volumes?
£6,000 is the price being asked for Migne, Jacques-Paul (ed) Patrologiae Cursus Completus: Series Latina. 221 vols ... yet what a tease this entry is; because it goes on: Ex-English Cathedral library! Which Cathedral library? Catholic or Anglican? And why is it being sold?? What conclusions could one draw from this about the decline in clerical scholarship? Worse: the entry continues: Hardly used!!! The picture this conjures up is so depressing ... if they aren't browsing through Migne ... or at least using him to verify their references ... how on earth do modern clergy spend their time? (I will not enable certain categories of comment claiming to answer this purely rhetorical question.)
Less bulky is another of Mr Zealley's offerings, Nouveau Petit Paroissien, signed twice by Louis Napoleon, Napoleon III. Full fresh maroon suede leather, original brass corners and front clasp. Original white watered silk endpapers, darkened. All edges gilt. VG+ £750. But no. Quid mihi cum Corsica? I might have been tempted to purchase it, however, since I am a man burdened by an incurable life-long heterosexual condition, if the book had been owned and signed by the Empress Eugenie. I wonder how much more the price would have been then?