The man answered, "It's amazing you know that; Collins was known as the Dickensian ampersand."
Now, tell me, WHO would not be impressed with THATknowledge? I did NOT know that, but I was taken aback that he would automatically assume that one would not know that Collins and Dickens were friends. I asked, "Why would you think that one wouldn't know that Dickens and Collins were friends?" He answered, "Most people would not know that." I said, "Dickens was an admirer of Collins' father, the landscape artist William Collins." He answered, "And most people would not know THAT!"
We compared other knowledge about Collins and I asked, "Did you know that Matthew Broderick and his wife named their son after Wilkie?" He laughed loudly at that trivial tidbit and I joined in with him, laughing at myself. I said, "I'm embarrassed I know THAT!"
Later, another person who is also a volunteer, had overheard the conversation and asked, "You probably don't get that many serious readers, do you?"
I answered, "Oh, I have quite a number of serious readers." The colleague asked, "What was that word he used?" I asked, "You mean ampersand? THAT does make it all worthwhile!"