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“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, tbinking 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 bad 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 ; "I'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 he'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 himn 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 handsthe 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.col. NEW SERIES. - VOL. LIV., No. 1.
ored, hairy creature, answering to the case the civilities seemed thrown awayname of Growley, which soon twined it- there was little friendly response. Still self round the lady's heart, as it did round Samela was always pleasant, and so Gibbs all with whom it came in contact.
minded the less the somewhat brusque beThe travellers' name was Prendergast. bavior of the old collector of curiosities. They had evidently not intended to make One afternoon the former, who had been a stay in Ross-shire, having brought little fishing near the inn, went in there to get with them, but in a few days a consider- something he wanted, and on his way able addition to their baggage arrived. back overtook Samela, sauntering along The old man seemed to be something of a with a large sketching-block under her naturalist. He wandered about the moors with a green tin-box kind of knapsack on “Will you come and draw a fight with his back, but he said little about his cap- a salmon, Miss Prendergast ?” he asked. tures, and Gibbs taking no interest in such “ There are a lot of fish up to-day, and I pursuits never asked leave to see what was think I'm sure to get hold of one pretty in it. He also wrote a good deal. The quickly. I'm not a very elegant figure, daughter, who rejoiced in the quaint and he added, laughing as he looked at his uncommon name of Samela, spent most of waders ; “ but Archie is very smart, and, her time sketching ; whenever it was fine at any rate, you will have a good backshe was out of doors, and even pretty ground in the rocks on the other side." damp weather did not discourage her if Miss Prendergast said she was quite sbe was in the humor. Clad in a short willing, and they went down to the pool. gray homespun dress, shod with strong As a rule, when a lady comes near a but shapely boots, with an immense um salmon river and you want to show off brella over ber head, she was able to defy your skill before her the fish sulk, and the elements if they were not very unpro- Gibbs was a rash_man to give the underpitious. She met Gibbs's little civilities taking he did. But fortuno had hitherto frankly and pleasantly, but never seemed been wonderfully kind to him, and did to look for them ; he rarely saw her when not desert him now. He had barely gone he was on the river, and, when they did over half the water before up came a good by chance meet, a nod and a smile were fish and took him. For the next ten minoften all that were vouchsafed to him. utes he was kept pretty busy. The fish Gibbs was perhaps a sufficiently susceptible was a strong one and showed plenty of young man, but just now fishing was his fight; but it was at last gaffed and laid object, and he had no leisure for flirting on the bank, and the lady came down from even if he had found any one willing to the rock she had settled on to inspect it. meet him half way. But still at spare She did not say, “ Oh ! how cruel to stick times he caught himself thinking about that horrid thing into it!" or, “How the lady more than he did about her father could you kill such a beautiful creature ?" or the innkeeper, or any one else about or, “I wish it had got away !" as some the place. At lunch-time, and when ladies would have done. On the consmoking his evening pipe, sometimes even trary, she gave the salmon--a bright when changing a fly to give a pool another twelve-pounder—a little poke with her cast over, her fair image rose up before foot, and said she was very glad it had him. Dinner had hitherto been a some- been captured. Then Gibbs went up to what comfortless meal, hastily consumed, look at her sketch and was honestly with one eye on The Scotsman and the amazed at it. We once had the privilege other on a mutton chop. But now he was of watching Mr. Ruskin draw a swallow sure of meeting one pleasant face at any on a black board,-half a dozen lines, and rate, and he enjoyed relating his adven- then you saw the bird flying at you out of tures on the river, and looking at Miss a black sky. So it was here, there was Samela's sketches afterward. Her father no weak or wasted stroke; the strain on was no acquisition to the party ; he was the rod, Archie's symmetrical figure, the generally in a bad temper, and he seemed more concealed elegance of the fisherman for some reason to have taken a dislike to were shown, as the former said, to the Gibbs. An old man with a good-looking life. daughter is sure of attention and politeness “ Well," said Gibbs, staring at it, “I on the part of a young man, but in this think it is lovely.
Its author looked at it with her head on tween three and seven to steady fishing. one side, as ladies often do look at their This would take Gibbs to the end of his handiwork, and promised that when it was beat, and so far up it as to be back near finished she would give it to him. Then the inn in time to change before dinner. she wrote down“ dun” for the waders, But he was getting into a somewhat restand “gray" for the rocks, and “ dark” less state—a little impatient of all such where the water ran under the cliff, and a salutary regulations, and one fine day little “red” just in a line with the admir- instead of beginning a unile above the inn ing Archie's nose, and went back to the he began opposite it-to Archie's great inn. Gibbs fished out the afternoon, but disapproval —and so timed himself as to he thought more about the lady and less be back there soon after four o'clock. He about the fish than be had done yet. He knew that Samela would be thereabouts-pondered a good deal, too, about the she had told him that it would take her a sketch, and racked his brains to think if day to finish her sketch. there was any way in which he could make “Miss Prendergast," said Gibbs rather a nice return to Samcla for it. She had shyly, feeling as if his little manœuvre was declined to have anything to do with the probably being seen through, “you said fish, which he had at once offered to her, the night you came up that you wanted to saying there was no one she particularly have some little thing from the Strathamat wished to send it to, or she might have sale, and I thought, perhaps, you would been squared in that way. He might give like a book. I got a good many books her a book,-he remembered her saying, there, and any that you would care to the first day they met, that she and her have you are most welcome to.” There father had come up for the sale to get was something of a conventional falsehood some remembrance of an old friend. in this statement ; there were a good many Gibbs was pleased at this idea until he be- books he would have been very sorry to thonght him what book he should give see her walk off with. her, and then he was puzzled. Of course, Samela looked up in his face, and Gibbs as a mere remembrance, Josephus, or The was quite sure she was beautiful ; Venus Fairchild Family, or even à volume of was her prototype after all, and not Juno ; the Encyclopædia Britannica would do as he had been a little puzzled as to which well as another ; but then—there would deity favored her the most. “It is very not be much generosity in handing one of good of you,” she said, more warmly than those works over. Plainly the lady must she had spoken yet. " I should like to be asked to choose for herself.' Then have something.'
" It was horrid of me Gibbs at once resolved that the quarto not to have thought of it sooner,'' said should be eliminated from the collection Gibbs. “ Well now, will you come and —the sketch would be purchased too choose for yourself? And may I tell dearly by its loss. As to any others, they them to take some tea into my room? I must take their chance. On second am sure you must want some after your thoughts, however, he concluded to con- long day here.” This second invitation ceal the works of Grimm-all the rest was quite an after-thought, given on the were to run the gauntlet of her pretty spur of the moment, and he hardly thought eyes.
it would be accepted. He was on the A day or two passed before he was able point of including her father in it when to put his little scheme into execution. the lady fortunately stopped him, and said It will easily be understood -as has already she thought she would also like some tea. been hinted—that a man on a salmon river But may I stop ten minutes to finish is not—when the water is in good order this bit while the light is on it? Then I --quite his own master. Business must will come in." be attended to before pleasure here as Gibbs went in and ordered the tea, and elsewhere. A start has to be made as then opened his old box and took out soon after nine as possible, and if nothing the quarto which he embedded for the untoward occurs, a certain pool should be time being in his portmanteau ; he had reached at two for lunch. A rest of an previously removed it from the old cover hour is allowed here, but the angler would in order to keep it flatter in the box. It have good reason to be dissatisfied with
was a hard struggle for him to leave the himself if he did not devote the time be Grimms, but at last he tore himself away