The Literary Club Society held their January meeting in historic Rugby last week. Six members spent the night in Percy Cottage, a historic reconstruction completed in 1977. Friday and Saturday were devoted to exploring the quaint grounds and touring several structures. The highlight was a visit to the Thomas Hughes Library which opened in 1882. It’s unique collection of some 7000 volumes is still almost completely intact dating from its opening. Many of these books are first edition copies. For book lovers, this experience was the equivalent of Elvis fans touring every nook and cranny of Graceland or General Patton crossing the Rhine River. The thirty-foot shelf space given to the complete records of all the communiques and correspondence of both armies in the civil war was truly impressive. This is especially so since this collection constitutes one of only three copies in existence.
The recent by-pass built to re-route the main traffic of highway 52 around the town has resulted in a peace and quiet almost as rustic as the town itself. In spite of the non-tourist season, there were a few hardy volunteers and residents who willingly showed us around and filled in some of the rich history of Rugby. Another delight was the discovery of RM Brooks General Store where we sampled the finest fried bologna sandwich in all of Tennessee. And they had a certificate to prove it. The atmosphere was electric. We ended up getting hugs after getting to know the owners, something you don’t get at Cracker Barrel.
Business as Usual
The official Friday night club meeting finished up discussion of Mansfield Park and launched us into a selection of What’s Mine’s Mine by George MacDonald as the next group read of choice. 2019 is to be the year of revisiting the Inklings and their kin. Much discussion followed the prospects of the Lewolkein Conference in March with the possibility of hosting it in Rugby. The idea grew in excitement as we toured the possible venue sites on Saturday.
Following our official meeting, the game Bring Your Own Book was played which proved to be a hit. Much manly laughter. Especially so when one member grabbed a pulp-romance paperback off the Percy Cottage shelf and used it to generate quotes. The game is a winner and warrants inclusion in your game closet.