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wild etchings, his Life in Paris, a large- to enlighten another man as to his busipaper edition in the salmon-colored wrap- ness; he would have pocketed the volume pers just as it was issued. Interested and and gone home with it rejoicing. But if excited as Gibbs would have been at these on a casual call on a poor and infirm discoveries at any other time he had no widow he had espied it lying on a shelf, thought now but for the quarto. It was and had gathered that, if he gave the not among the illustrated books, and he owner half a sovereign, he would not only searched again below among the larger rejoice her heart but be held up to the volumes in the bottom shelf. There stood neighbors as a man who had done a kind Penn's Quakers, as it had stood for per- and generous deed for the sake of the haps a hundred years, defying dust and poor, the question would have presented damp and draughts in its massive bind- itself in a much more difficult light. Gibbs ing. There were old French and Spanish hoped in this case that he would have the dictionaries, a good edition of Tacitus in courage to tell the old lady that her book several volumes, the Genuine Works of was a great deal inore valuable than she Josephus, and Gerarde's Herbal. What imagined, and that he would give her at was this dingy calf-covered thing lying on any rate a fair proportion of what it was the top of the rest, more in folio than in worth. But here was quite a different quarto size ? Gibbs drew it out, and affair. The old laird had left no family ; when he had opened it he gave a kind of his property went to a distant relation gasp, and looked round to the door to see whom he had cared little about ; be of if he was alone. The quarto was merely course must have known the value of his loosely stitched into the calf-binding which treasures, but he had left no will, no had evidently been made for a larger paper saying how they were to be disbook ; it had been kept with the greatest posed of. Could it be possible (thought care, and seemed without a flaw or blem- Gibbs with a shudder which ran all through ish ; it was quite untouched by the knife, him) that it was his bounden duty to go and some leaves at the end were still un- to the manager of the sale and say, opened, -left so probably to show the “Here is a
Here is a priceless edition of Shakeperfect virginity of its state. It was not speare, of whose value you are evidently the History of the Merry Wives which lay ignorant; it is worth £200, £300, for imbedded in its pages, nor yet that of the aught I know, £500 ; it is absolutely Danish Prince, but-A Pleasant and Con- unique. Take it to Sotheby's, -and let ceited Comedie called Loues Labors Lost. my reward be the consciousness that I As it was presented before her Highness have put a large sum of money into the this last Christmas. Newly corrected and pocket of a perfect stranger.'' If this augmented by W. Shakespere.
were so, then Gibbs felt that on this occaIt was manifest to Gibbs that those who sion he would not do his duty ; he felt so had the management of the sale knew sure that the attempt would be a failure nothing of the value of this book or of that it seemed to him better not to make the few other treasures in the room ; they it, and he could moreover always make were all to be placed on the same footing the graceful speech and hand the book as Josephus, or Dickinson's Agriculture, over after the sale. So he put the quarto and sold for what they would fetch. He carefully back and went off in search of had been hoping and trusting that this the auctioneer. As he left the room a would be the case ever since he heard of thrill of virtuous self-satisfaction suddenly the quarto, but now, when his wishes came over him, which went far toward were fulfilled, and he found himself, so allaying the qualms he had felt before. far as could be seen, the master of the He might have put the Grimms into one situation, certain qualms began to pass pocket, and Hans of Iceland into the other, over his mind. The casuistical question and buttoned the quarto under his coat, of what was the right thing to do troubled and it was ninety-nine to one hundred that him a little. If he had come across the no one would be the wiser or feel the quarto on a stall and the bookseller in poorer. And he knew that many men charge,-presumably a man who knew at would have done this without thinking least the elements of his trade—had asked twice about it, and in some queer way or a ridiculously small price for it, -well, other have soothed their consciences for Gibbs would not have thought it necessary the wicked act. It was with a swelling
- Half a crown,
heart that Gibbs thought of his trust- sess the mind of the individual who first worthiness and honesty. But lest there lifted up his voice in that room. should be others about with hands not so a short, stout, red-faced man, the much under control as his, he resolved to chant” of the “ toun,” as the balf dozen take up his quarters in the room, or at houses in the neighborhood were called, any rate never be very far from it, so as and being also the postmaster and the to be in a position to counteract possible registrar for the district, he had something felonies.
of a literary reputation to keep up. In a The auctioneer was a stout moon-faced measured and determined voice he started man, with no doubt a fair knowledge of the bidding. “I'll gie ye-ninepence,” cattle and sheep and the cheaper kinds of and then he glared all round the room as furniture. His resonant voice could be if to say, “ Let him overtop that who heard all over the house : “ For this fine dares !" “A shilling," said Gibbs. mahogany table—the best in the sale— “And—threepence,” retorted the merwith cover and extra leaves complete—will chant, turning with rather an injured face dine twelve people—thirty shillings, thirty- to have a good look at his opponent. five shillings, thirty-seven and six! Who
went on Gibbs-how he says the twa nots?" And when he had longed to shout out, “Twenty pounds for coaxed the “ twa nots” out of the reluc- the lot !" But he feared to do anything tant pocket of the Free Church minister which would make the audience, and still he quite unblushingly produced another more the auctioneer, suspicious. This table superior to the first, wbich was hundred per cent of an advance secured bought by the doctor for five shillings him the first lot, and the young clerk less, and which was the means of causing pushed over to him a collection which a a slight coolness between the two worthy hurried examination showed to be three men for a week or two. There are few odd volumes of the Annual Register, three more dreary ways of spending a day than volumes of Chambers's Miscellany, and in attending a sale of furniture when you the third volume of The Fairchild Famdon't want to buy any.
ily. At last the books were reached. The The second lot were by this time laid bedsteads, the chairs, the kitchen things, on the table ; there seemed to be somethe bits of carpet on the stairs and land- thing more of the Register in it, and a ing were all disposed of, and the auc- dull green octavo gave some promise of a tioneer seated himself on a table in front continuation of Mrs. Sherwood's excellent of the shelves, while his assistant handed romance. The postmaster again began him a great parcel just as they had stood the fray with the same offer as before. in line. Gibbs had satisfied himself that “I'll not bid for that trash,” said Gibbs everything that was of any value to him to himself, and it seemed as if the govwas in the furthest corner of one of the ernment official was to have his way this lowest shelves ; but now at the last mo- time. But just as the auctioneer's pencil, ment a fear crept over him that his exam- which he used as a hammer, was falling, ination had been too casual and hurried, Gibbs was seized with a sudden fright at that lurking in some cover, or bound up the bare possibility of something valuable perhaps in some worthless volume, there being concealed somewhere in the unmight be something too good to risk the promising heap ; “Half a crown !” he loss of. Some books too had been taken called out in a great hurry, and the spoil out by the country people, and might not was again his own. His surmise as to the have been put back in the same places. Register was correct, but the green covers So he decided that for his future peace of enclosed the History of Little Henry and mind it was necessary to buy the whole his Bearer—a work also by the amiable assortment.
Mrs. Sherwood. When the next lot of It is related in the account of the ever books were put up the postmaster wheeled memorable sale of the Valdarfer Boccaccio round and faced Gibbs, deserting the aucthat, “ the honor of firing the first shot tioneer, and as our friend saw that various was due to a gentleman of Shrop- neighbors were poking his opponent and shire . . . who seemed to recoil from the whispering encouragement to him, he anreverberation of the report himself had ticipated that the fight was to become made.” No such feeling seemed to pos- warmer as it grew older.
“Ninepence,” said the local champion, William Shakespeare" – Gibbs looked fixing a stern eye on Gibbs. Five shil- sharply up-“adorned with cuts--most lings !” replied the latter, thinking to suitable, with other beautiful and interestchoke him off. “Six !" cried the mer- ing volumes. Shall I say ten shillings chant, the word escaping him almost be- again ?” But no, he need not—at any fore he knew what he was about. “Ten!' rate no one would corroborate him, and called out Gibbs. Then there
the whole collection became the property pause. It was evidently the wish of the of John Gibbs for the sum of one shilaudience that their representative should ling. And so it went on-sometimes carry off the prize this time, and show the there was competition, sometimes not ; haughty stranger that he could not have it the postmaster was inclined to rest on his all his own way, that they too, even in laurels, and nearly every lot was knocked Ross-shire, knew something of the value down to the Englishman. They worked of books. All those
who were near along the shelves and at last reached the enough to Mr. MacFadyen, the postmas- Cruikshanks. But by these happy counter, to nudge him and whisper encourage- try folk the drawings of the great artist ment to him, did so. With a frowning were set on a level with those in the Penny meditative face the old warrior, trying to Encyclopædia ; the Grimms attracted no keep one eye on Gibbs and the other on attention ; a little more respect was paid the auctioneer and squinting frightfully in to the Thrift and the Life of Napoleon consequence, stood, revolving no doubt owing to the gaudy coloring, but yet Gibbs many things in his blameless mind. “And became the possessor of them for a few -threepence !” he gasped out at last, shillings, uncut spotless copies as they and there went a “sough” through the were. Then they had to work along the assembly, and some almost held their last bottom shelf, but here, as the books breath for a time, so awed were they at were mostly folios and quartos and fat to his persistence, and at the magnitude of boot, they were got quickly through. his offer. Gibbs, staring at the dusty Gibbs let go Penn's Quakers, for he could heap, thought he would risk the loss of it, read the title, and a Latin dictionary, and -a more hopeless looking collection he some old theological works. When the had never seen. And it was perhaps ad quarto on which his eyes had been glued visable to let this old man have something, so long was reached, his heart was beating or he might grow desperate when despera- so he felt afraid his neighbors would hear tion would be dangerous. So he smiled it. “Love's Labor's Lost," slowly a bland refusal to the auctioneer, and that spelled out the auctioneer, “a Comedy worthy, after trying in vain for about five by Williain Shakespeare ; a most"-he minutes to get another threepence of an was at a loss for a suitable adjective, and advance, had to let the heap go. The fell back on the old one-"a most-elepostmaster was at once surrounded by an gant work,-by William Shakespeare.' eager circle of friends, and each book was Then there was a pause and a bush. carefully examined and criticised. They Perhaps the people were tired; the exwere for the most part old sermons, but citement of the sale was over,-for them. an odd volume of Molière having got by But to one man present there it almost chance in among them was at once pounced seemed as if the quiet which fell for a litupon, and Gibbs could hardly keep from tle while over the crowd in that shabby laughing outright at the reverence with room was due to something more than which it was treated.
“ It's Latin !" this, was in some way an act of homage whispered one. Ay, or Greek !” sug- paid unconsciously and involuntarily to gested another. “ If it's no Gaelic !" the greatest of all the sons of men. It interposed a snuffy-faced old shepherd, seemed a profanation to offer for that who had arrived very early in the day with book the fraction of a shilling or a pound. three dogs, and had' examined and criti. It was the last, and, before the merchant cised everything in the house without the could get out his offer, Gibbs made it his faintest intention of spending a farthing. own and electrified the room. “ Five
“Here is an elegant work,” said the pounds !” he cried out in so loud a voice auctioneer, after he had allowed a long in- that his next neighbor,-a meek old womterval to give time for the inspection of an in a mutch,-jumped as if a snake had the Gaelic treasure ; an elegant work by bitten her. Some question as to the per
fect sanity of the fisherman had found spectable part of the remainder of his place in the minds of the wiser and more library. But the Annual Registers and experienced people in the room as they the Miscellanies and the green-backed listened to his rash offers, and thought of works by Mrs. Sherwood he strewed reck the perfect impossibility of any one want. lessly about the room, and astonished the ing to have so many books all at the same people who from time to time cautiously time. But all doubts were now dispelled, came in to have a look at him, by telling and three good-looking girls who had them that they could take what they liked edged up close to Gibbs to have a quiet away. With a wary eye on the donor the examination of him now shrunk away in books were removed, and many a happy obvious alarm. The moon faced home in that remote district is even now tioneer was visibly affected,—during his indebted to his generosity for the solid long experience he had never seen a book collection of works which adorn its humsold for the fifth part of such a price. ble shelves. If the constant perusal of And what sort of a man was this to offer L'Industrie Françoise, the Géographie it when, if he had waited half a minute Ancienne Abrégée, the Grammaire Espaglonger, he would have secured what he nole Raisonné, or the Histoire de Henri wanted for a couple of shillings? But le Grand, have in any way soothed the Gibbs cared for nothing of this now:- sorrows, lightened the labors, and imthey might call hiin and think him what proved the morals of the crofters in this they pleased—and he pushed up to the part of the north of Scotland the praise table and claimed the precious volume. and the reward is due to John Gibbs the He soon set the auctioneer's mind at rest, fisherman, and to no one else. If, as the “I will wait,” he said, “till you make old story books say, the books have never out my account.” Then he stood there, been removed, there they are still. -perhaps at that moment the happiest of Then the two men started on their way all mankind.
home. We said just now that Gibbs was “I should like to have had that fine perhaps for a short time the happiest man volume of Shakespeare for my daugh- in the world ; in making that remark we ters," said the auctioneer, as he handed did not take into consideration Archie's Gibbs the receipt, “ but you are such a feelings. He had bought a flaming yel. determined bidder there is no standing low-red mahogany horse-hair sofa, three against you. A London gentleman, I pre- chairs, a clock-case, and an umbrellasume-might you be from London ??' stand, and above all a bed,--a real old
“You are welcome to the Shake- fashioned seven feet by five-and-a-half speare,” replied Gibbs ignoring the ques. erection, with a sort of pagoda on the tion. “ It is—an elegant volume. And top. That he had only a but and ben,” it is a family edition, which adds to its with stone and mud floors, twelve by value. You may safely trust it to your fourteeen feet each, and a door leading to daughters." Profuse were the bappy them little more than two feet wide, had father's thanks for the gracious present. not yet caused him any anxiety.
An old lady had in the earlier part of believe that before that seven-foot bedthe day purchased a large and substantial stead was got through that two-foot door box for eighteenpence ; Gibbs now hunt- the good looking young woman, to whom ed her out and offered her a sovereign for half of it might be said to belong, exit. The old person was flustered almost pressed her opinion of his judgment in a out of her life at such a premium, and it way which made him shake in his shoes, evidently aroused some suspicion in her strong and able man as he was. mind that the stranger might know more When Gibbs reached the inn with his about its value than she did. It was not precious cargo he came in for the end of until she had herself examined every cor- what had evidently been a serious disturb. ner of it many times over, and taken coun- The landlord was undergoing with sel with all the friends and relations she what patience he might the angry recould get hold of, that she consented to proaches of a little old man, who with uppart with it—even then following it up- lifted finger emphasized every word he stairs for one more search for possibly uttered. The stranger had his back to hidden gold. Into this box Gibbs put the doorway, as had also his companion, first his prizes, and then the most re- a tall lady in a gray tweed dress.
“ It's most provoking and annoying," time. We only wished to have got some cried the old man. "I took particular remembrance-of an old friend. I have care to write the name of your infernal no doubt that there was some mistake at place plainly !-I believe you got the let- the post - office. Come !" and with a ter !"
pretty air of authority she led the old “I got no letter," replied the landlord, grumbler into the sitting-room. or I should have sent the machine." Gibbs was by no means what is called a
“But you should have got it !” cried classical scholar. He had wasted—so it the old man furiously,
" and I'll find out seemed to him—a good many years of who is responsible! It's scandalous !- his life in turning Shakespeare and Milton it's” he stuttered with rage at a loss into very inferior Greek and Latin verse, for a word.
and since he left Oxford had never opened " You've lost a good day's fishing, Mr. a book connected with either of the lanGibbs, I doubt,” said the landlord, look- guages—unless it was to see who the ing as if he would rather like to get out of printer was. But he had a misty recolthe corner in which the new-comers had lection of some passage which described canght him ; they had cut him off coming how a mortal woman walked like a god. down-stairs and blocked the lower step. dess, and he thought that then for the
“ And I'll see that whoever is responsi- first time he understood what the old ble suffers for it,” went on the old gen- writer meant,--he knew then for the first tleman in a very threatening way ; “l'll time how a goddess moved. show yon—"
If a traveller had passed by that lonely “Oh, man !” said the landlord at last, inn at midnight, he would have seen a roused to retaliate, “I got no letter. bright light burning in one of its windows. And I do not care the crack of my thumb And if he had returned two, or three, or for you or your letter, or your threats, or even four hours later, he would have seen your responsibilities! Here's a gentle- it still burning, shining out like a beacon man who has just come from the sale and over the wild moors. The salmon-fisher be'll tell you there was naething in it but had forgotten his craft, the politician his a wheen sticks and books and rubbish,-a newspaper, the admirer of goddesses that wheen auld chairs and pots !”
such creatures ever existed upon the earth.. The strangers turned round at once to It was very late, or early, before Gibbs see who was appealed to. The man had had finished his investigations and retired a little red, angry face and a long beard, to his bed, and then his sleep was not a -you will see fifty like him in any town pleasant or a restful one. Unless it is in a day's walk. His companion would pleasant to have hundreds of other peohave attracted some attention anywhere ; ple's poor relations standing in endless Gibbs got to know her face pretty well in ranks, holding out thin and empty hands the course of time, but though he felt it for help ; unless it is restful to have to: was what is called a striking one he never drive a huge wheelbarrow along in front knew exactly why. He would have said of them, heavy at the commencement of that her hair was neither dark nor light, the journey with first editions, uncut, of that her eyes were gray, her mouth and the quartos, but gradually growing lighter: nose both perhaps rather large, and that and lighter as they one by one slipped she had full red lips--a commonplace de- down the pile, and fell off on to the scription enough which would answer per- muddy roadway. haps for three or four out of every dozen
II. girls you meet. She was very tall, -she stood a head and shoulders over her com- Two parties cannot be long together in panion--and her figure, though it would a small country inn without getting to have been large for a smaller woman, was some extent to know each other. Gibbs in just proportion to her height. She put began by the little services which a man: her hand on the old man's arm, as if to can always render to a lady, opening check his impetuosity, and threw oil on doors, lending newspapers, and so forth. the troubled waters as it is befitting a A dog, too, often acts as a sort of intro.' woman should do.
duction to two people who are fond of “ It is really of little consequence," she that animal ; and the fisherman was the said, “ though it was provoking at the possessor of a small, short-legged, crust-colNEW SERIES. – VOL. LIV., No. 1.