wild etchings, his Life in Paris, a largepaper edition in the salmon-colored wrappers just as it was issued. Interested and excited as Gibbs would have been at these discoveries at any other time he had no thought now but for the quarto. It was not among the illustrated books, and he searched again below among the larger volumes in the bottom shelf. There stood Penn's Quakers, as it had stood for perhaps a hundred years, defying dust and damp and draughts in its massive binding. There were old French and Spanish dictionaries, a good edition of Tacitus in several volumes, the Genuine Works of Josephus, and Gerarde's Herbal. What was this dingy calf-covered thing lying on the top of the rest, more in folio than in quarto size? Gibbs drew it out, and when he had opened it he gave a kind of gasp, and looked round to the door to see if he was alone. The quarto was merely loosely stitched into the calf-binding which had evidently been made for a larger book; it had been kept with the greatest care, and seemed without a flaw or blemish; it was quite untouched by the knife, and some leaves at the end were still unopened,-left so probably to show the perfect virginity of its state. It was not the History of the Merry Wives which lay imbedded in its pages, nor yet that of the Danish Prince, but-A Pleasant and Conceited Comedie called Loues Labors Lost. As it was presented before her Highness this last Christmas. Newly corrected and augmented by W. Shakespere.

It was manifest to Gibbs that those who had the management of the sale knew nothing of the value of this book or of the few other treasures in the room; they were all to be placed on the same footing as Josephus, or Dickinson's Agriculture, and sold for what they would fetch. He had been hoping and trusting that this would be the case ever since he heard of the quarto, but now, when his wishes were fulfilled, and he found himself, so far as could be seen, the master of the situation, certain qualms began to pass over his mind. The casuistical question of what was the right thing to do troubled him a little. If he had come across the quarto on a stall and the bookseller in charge, presumably a man who knew at least the elements of his trade-had asked a ridiculously small price for it, well, Gibbs would not have thought it necessary

to enlighten another man as to his business; he would have pocketed the volume and gone home with it rejoicing. But if on a casual call on a poor and infirm widow he had espied it lying on a shelf, and had gathered that, if he gave the owner half a sovereign, he would not only rejoice her heart but be held up to the neighbors as a man who had done a kind and generous deed for the sake of the poor, the question would have presented itself in a much more difficult light. Gibbs hoped in this case that he would have the courage to tell the old lady that her book was a great deal more valuable than she imagined, and that he would give her at any rate a fair proportion of what it was worth. But here was quite a different affair. The old laird had left no family; his

property went to a distant relation whom he had cared little about; he of course must have known the value of his treasures, but he had left no will, no paper saying how they were to be disposed of. Could it be possible (thought Gibbs with a shudder which ran all through him) that it was his bounden duty to go to the manager of the sale and say,


Here is a priceless edition of Shakespeare, of whose value you are evidently ignorant; it is worth £200, £300, for aught I know, £500; it is absolutely unique. Take it to Sotheby's, and let my reward be the consciousness that I have put a large sum of money into the pocket of a perfect stranger.' 99 If this were so, then Gibbs felt that on this occasion he would not do his duty; he felt so sure that the attempt would be a failure that it seemed to him better not to make it, and he could moreover always make the graceful speech and hand the book over after the sale. So he put the quarto carefully back and went off in search of the auctioneer. As he left the room a thrill of virtuous self-satisfaction suddenly came over him, which went far toward allaying the qualms he had felt before. He might have put the Grimms into one pocket, and Hans of Iceland into the other, and buttoned the quarto under his coat, and it was ninety-nine to one hundred that no one would be the wiser or feel the

poorer. And he knew that many men would have done this without thinking twice about it, and in some queer way or other have soothed their consciences for the wicked act. It was with a swelling

heart that Gibbs thought of his trustworthiness and honesty. But lest there should be others about with hands not so much under control as his, he resolved to take up his quarters in the room, or at any rate never be very far from it, so as to be in a position to counteract possible felonies.

The auctioneer was a stout moon-faced man, with no doubt a fair knowledge of cattle and sheep and the cheaper kinds of furniture. His resonant voice could be heard all over the house: "For this fine mahogany table-the best in the salewith cover and extra leaves complete-will dine twelve people-thirty shillings, thirtyfive shillings, thirty-seven and six! Who says the twa nots ?" And when he had coaxed the "twa nots" out of the reluctant pocket of the Free Church minister he quite unblushingly produced another table superior to the first, which bought by the doctor for five shillings less, and which was the means of causing a slight coolness between the two worthy men for a week or two. There are few more dreary ways of spending a day than in attending a sale of furniture when you don't want to buy any.


At last the books were reached. The bedsteads, the chairs, the kitchen things, the bits of carpet on the stairs and landing were all disposed of, and the auctioneer seated himself on a table in front of the shelves, while his assistant handed him a great parcel just as they had stood in line. Gibbs had satisfied himself that everything that was of any value to him was in the furthest corner of one of the lowest shelves; but now at the last moment a fear crept over him that his examination had been too casual and hurried, that lurking in some cover, or bound up perhaps in some worthless volume, there might be something too good to risk the loss of. Some books too had been taken out by the country people, and might not have been put back in the same places. So he decided that for his future peace of mind it was necessary to buy the whole


It is related in the account of the ever memorable sale of the Valdarfer Boccaccio that, "the honor of firing the first shot was due to a gentleman of Shropshire . . . who seemed to recoil from the reverberation of the report himself had made." No such feeling seemed to pos

In a

sess the mind of the individual who first lifted up his voice in that room. He was a short, stout, red-faced man, the " merchant" of the “toun,” as the half dozen houses in the neighborhood were called, and being also the postmaster and the registrar for the district, he had something of a literary reputation to keep up. measured and determined voice he started the bidding. "I'll gie ye-ninepence, and then he glared all round the room as if to say, "Let him overtop that who dares !"' "A shilling," said Gibbs. "And-threepence," retorted the merchant, turning with rather an injured face to have a good look at his opponent. "Half a crown," went on Gibbs-how he longed to shout out, "Twenty pounds for the lot!" But he feared to do anything which would make the audience, and still more the auctioneer, suspicious. hundred per cent of an advance secured him the first lot, and the young clerk pushed over to him a collection which a hurried examination showed to be three odd volumes of the Annual Register, three volumes of Chambers's Miscellany, and the third volume of The Fairchild Family.


The second lot were by this time laid on the table; there seemed to be something more of the Register in it, and a dull green octavo gave some promise of a continuation of Mrs. Sherwood's excellent romance. The postmaster again began the fray with the same offer as before. "I'll not bid for that trash," said Gibbs to himself, and it seemed as if the government official was to have his way this time. But just as the auctioneer's pencil, which he used as a hammer, was falling, Gibbs was seized with a sudden fright at the bare possibility of something valuable being concealed somewhere in the unpromising heap; "Half a crown!" he called out in a great hurry, and the spoil was again his own. His surmise as to the Register was correct, but the green covers enclosed the History of Little Henry and his Bearer-a work also by the amiable Mrs. Sherwood. When the next lot of books were put up the postmaster wheeled round and faced Gibbs, deserting the auctioneer, and as our friend saw that various neighbors were poking his opponent and whispering encouragement to him, he anticipated that the fight was to become warmer as it grew older.

Ninepence," said the local champion, fixing a stern eye on Gibbs. "Five shillings!" replied the latter, thinking to choke him off. "Six ! cried the merchant, the word escaping him almost before he knew what he was about. "Ten !' called out Gibbs. Then there was a pause. It was evidently the wish of the audience that their representative should carry off the prize this time, and show the haughty stranger that he could not have it all his own way, that they too, even in Ross-shire, knew something of the value of books. All those who were near enough to Mr. MacFadyen, the postmaster, to nudge him and whisper encouragement to him, did so. With a frowning meditative face the old warrior, trying to keep one eye on Gibbs and the other on the auctioneer and squinting frightfully in consequence, stood, revolving no doubt many things in his blameless mind. "And -threepence!" he gasped out at last, and there went a "sough" through the assembly, and some almost held their breath for a time, so awed were they at his persistence, and at the magnitude of his offer. Gibbs, staring at the dusty heap, thought he would risk the loss of it, -a more hopeless looking collection he had never seen. And it was perhaps ad visable to let this old man have something, or he might grow desperate when desperation would be dangerous. So he smiled a bland refusal to the auctioneer, and that worthy, after trying in vain for about five minutes to get another threepence of an advance, had to let the heap go. The postmaster was at once surrounded by an eager circle of friends, and each book was carefully examined and criticised. They were for the most part old sermons, but an odd volume of Molière having got by chance in among them was at once pounced upon, and Gibbs could hardly keep from laughing outright at the reverence with which it was treated. "It's Latin !" whispered one. "Ay, or Greek!" suggested another. "If it's no Gaelic !" interposed a snuffy-faced old shepherd, who had arrived very early in the day with three dogs, and had examined and criticised everything in the house without the faintest intention of spending a farthing.

William Shakespeare" - Gibbs looked sharply up-" adorned with cuts-most suitable, with other beautiful and interesting volumes. Shall I say ten shillings again?" But no, he need not-at any rate no one would corroborate him, and the whole collection became the property of John Gibbs for the sum of one shilling. And so it went on-sometimes there was competition, sometimes not; the postmaster was inclined to rest on his laurels, and nearly every lot was knocked down to the Englishman. They worked along the shelves and at last reached the Cruikshanks. But by these happy country folk the drawings of the great artist were set on a level with those in the Penny Encyclopædia; the Grimms attracted no attention; a little more respect was paid to the Thrift and the Life of Napoleon owing to the gaudy coloring, but yet Gibbs. became the possessor of them for a few shillings, uncut spotless copies as they


Then they had to work along the last bottom shelf, but here, as the books were mostly folios and quartos and fat to boot, they were got quickly through. Gibbs let go Penn's Quakers, for he could read the title, and a Latin dictionary, and some old theological works. When the quarto on which his eyes had been glued so long was reached, his heart was beating so he felt afraid his neighbors would hear it. "Love's Labor's Lost," slowly spelled out the auctioneer, "a Comedy by William Shakespeare; a most"-he was at a loss for a suitable adjective, and fell back on the old oneแ -" a most-elegant work,-by William Shakespeare."

Then there was a pause and a hush. Perhaps the people were tired; the excitement of the sale was over,-for them. But to one man present there it almost seemed as if the quiet which fell for a little while over the crowd in that shabby room was due to something more than this, was in some way an act of homage paid unconsciously and involuntarily to the greatest of all the sons of men. It seemed a profanation to offer for that book the fraction of a shilling or a pound. It was the last, and, before the merchant could get out his offer, Gibbs made it his 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. an elegant work by bitten her. Some question as to the per

fect sanity of the fisherman had found place in the minds of the wiser and more experienced people in the room as they listened to his rash offers, and thought of the perfect impossibility of any one want ing to have so many books all at the same time. But all doubts were now dispelled, and three good-looking girls who had edged up close to Gibbs to have a quiet examination of him now shrunk away in obvious alarm. The moon faced auctioneer was visibly affected,-during his long experience he had never seen a book sold for the fifth part of such a price. And what sort of a man was this to offer it when, if he had waited half a minute longer, he would have secured what he wanted for a couple of shillings? But Gibbs cared for nothing of this now,they might call him and think him what they pleased and he pushed up to the table and claimed the precious volume. He soon set the auctioneer's mind at rest, "I will wait," he said, "till you make out my account." Then he stood there, -perhaps at that moment the happiest of all mankind.

"I should like to have had that fine volume of Shakespeare for my daughters," said the auctioneer, as he handed Gibbs the receipt, "but you are such a determined bidder there is no standing against you. A London gentleman, I presume-might you be from London ?''

"You are welcome to the Shakespeare," replied Gibbs ignoring the question. "It is an elegant volume. And it is a family edition, which adds to its value. You may safely trust it to your daughters." Profuse were the happy father's thanks for the gracious present.

An old lady had in the earlier part of the day purchased a large and substantial box for eighteenpence; Gibbs now hunted her out and offered her a sovereign for it. The old person was flustered almost out of her life at such a premium, and it evidently aroused some suspicion in her mind that the stranger might know more about its value than she did. It was not until she had herself examined every corner of it many times over, and taken counsel with all the friends and relations she could get hold of, that she consented to part with it even then following it upstairs for one more search for possibly hidden gold. Into this box Gibbs put first his prizes, and then the most re

spectable part of the remainder of his library. But the Annual Registers and the Miscellanies and the green-backed works by Mrs. Sherwood he strewed reck lessly about the room, and astonished the people who from time to time cautiously came in to have a look at him, by telling them that they could take what they liked away. With a wary eye on the donor the books were removed, and many a happy home in that remote district is even now indebted to his generosity for the solid collection of works which adorn its humble shelves. If the constant perusal of L'Industrie Françoise, the Géographie Ancienne Abrégée, the Grammaire Espagnole Raisonné, or the Histoire de Henri le Grand, have in any way soothed the sorrows, lightened the labors, and improved the morals of the crofters in this part of the north of Scotland the praise and the reward is due to John Gibbs the fisherman, and to no one else. If, as the old story books say, the books have never been removed, there they are still.

Then the two men started on their way home. We said just now that Gibbs was perhaps for a short time the happiest man in the world; in making that remark we did not take into consideration Archie's feelings. He had bought a flaming yellow-red mahogany horse-hair sofa, three chairs, a clock-case, and an umbrellastand, and above all a bed,-a real oldfashioned seven feet by five-and-a-half erection, with a sort of pagoda on the top. That he had only a but and ben," with stone and mud floors, twelve by fourteeen feet each, and a door leading to them little more than two feet wide, had not yet caused him any anxiety. But we believe that before that seven-foot bedstead was got through that two-foot door the good-looking young woman, to whom half of it might be said to belong, expressed her opinion of his judgment in a way which made him shake in his shoes, strong and able man as he was.

When Gibbs reached the inn with his precious cargo he came in for the end of what had evidently been a serious disturb.


The landlord was undergoing with what patience he might the angry reproaches of a little old man, who with uplifted finger emphasized every word he uttered. The stranger had his back to the doorway, as had also his companion, a tall lady in a gray tweed dress.

"It's most provoking and annoying,' cried the old man. 66 I took particular care to write the name of your infernal place plainly I believe you got the let ter !"


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I got no letter," replied the landlord, or I should have sent the machine." "But you should have got it!" cried the old man furiously, "and I'll find out who is responsible! It's scandalous! it's" he stuttered with rage at a loss for a word.

"You've lost a good day's fishing, Mr. Gibbs, I doubt," said the landlord, looking as if he would rather like to get out of the corner in which the new-comers had caught him; they had cut him off coming down-stairs and blocked the lower step. "And I'll see that whoever is responsible suffers for it," went on the old gentleman in a very threatening way; I'll show you-"

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Oh, man!" said the landlord at last, roused to retaliate, "I got no letter. And I do not care the crack of my thumb for you or your letter, or your threats, or your responsibilities! Here's a gentleman who has just come from the sale and he'll tell you there was naething in it but a wheen sticks and books and rubbish,-a wheen auld chairs and pots!"

The strangers turned round at once to see who was appealed to. The man had a little red, angry face and a long beard, -you will see fifty like him in any town in a day's walk. His companion would have attracted some attention anywhere; Gibbs got to know her face pretty well in the course of time, but though he felt it was what is called a striking one he never knew exactly why. He would have said that her hair was neither dark nor light, that her eyes were gray, her mouth and nose both perhaps rather large, and that she had full red lips-a commonplace description enough which would answer perhaps for three or four out of every dozen girls you meet. She was very tall,-she stood a head and shoulders over her companion and her figure, though it would have been large for a smaller woman, was in just proportion to her height. She put her hand on the old man's arm, as if to check his impetuosity, and threw oil on the troubled waters as it is befitting a woman should do.

"It is really of little consequence," she said, "though it was provoking at the NEW SERIES.-VOL. LIV., No. 1.

time. We only wished to have got some remembrance-of an old friend. I have no doubt that there was some mistake at the post office. Come!" and with a pretty air of authority she led the old grumbler into the sitting-room.

Gibbs was by no means what is called a classical scholar. He had wasted-so it seemed to him-a good many years of his life in turning Shakespeare and Milton into very inferior Greek and Latin verse, and since he left Oxford had never opened a book connected with either of the languages-unless it was to see who the printer was. But he had a misty recollection of some passage which described how a mortal woman walked like a god. dess, and he thought that then for the first time he understood what the old writer meant, he knew then for the first time how a goddess moved.

If a traveller had passed by that lonely inn at midnight, he would have seen a bright light burning in one of its windows. And if he had returned two, or three, or even four hours later, he would have seen it still burning, shining out like a beacon over the wild moors. The salmon-fisher had forgotten his craft, the politician his newspaper, the admirer of goddesses that such creatures ever existed upon the earth.. It was very late, or early, before Gibbs had finished his investigations and retired to his bed, and then his sleep was not a pleasant or a restful one. Unless it is pleasant to have hundreds of other peo-ple's poor relations standing in endless ranks, holding out thin and empty handsfor help; unless it is restful to have to. drive a huge wheelbarrow along in front of them, heavy at the commencement of the journey with first editions, uncut, of the quartos, but gradually growing lighter and lighter as they one by one slipped down the pile, and fell off on to the muddy roadway.


Two parties cannot be long together in a small country inn without getting to some extent to know each other. Gibbs began by the little services which a man can always render to a lady, opening doors, lending newspapers, and so forth. A dog, too, often acts as a sort of introduction to two people who are fond of that animal; and the fisherman was the possessor of a small, short-legged, crust-col


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