'In 1926 [Catherine McMullen] was herself a workhouse laundress, struggling to improve her mind by reading T.P. and Cassell's Weekly. The magazine was full of literary gossip that made her aspire to be a writer, but she had no idea which books to read until she came across Elinor Glyn's The Career of Catherine Bush. In this story of a romance between a duke and a secretary, the secretary is advised to read the Letters of Lord Chesterfield to his Son. Catherine McMullen visited a public library for the first time in her life and borrowed the book: "And here began my education. With Lord Chesterfield I read my first mythology. I learned my first history and geography. With Lord Chesterfield I went travelling the world. I would fall asleep reading the letters and awake around three o'clock in the morning my mind deep in the fascination of this new world, where people conversed, not just talked..." ... He launched her into a lifetime course of reading, beginning with Chaucer in Middle English, moving on to Erasmus, Donne, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and even Finnegan's Wake.'