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would in these days have produced three times that amount, had been picked up by the noble Duke from the bookstalls which he delighted to visit. For he did visit them, and, with the view of himself bringing home any rarities he might pick up, he had the hind pockets of his overcoat made large enough to contain a small folio. This I state on the authority of one who knew him well, the late Francis Douce.
A great portion of the library of the late Lord Macaulay had been collected by the same means.
I remember meeting him many years since, very far east, and his then telling me that he had been looking over the bookstalls in the neighbourhood of the City Road and Whitechapel.
I remember the great historian telling me the curious incident which put him in possession of some French mémoires of which he had long been endeavouring to secure a copy but without success.
He was strolling down Holywell Street when he saw in a bookseller's window a volume of Muggletonian tracts. Having gone in, examined the volume, and agreed to buy it, he tendered a sovereign in payment. The bookseller had not change, but said, if he (Mr. Macaulay) would just keep an eye on the shop, he would step out and get it. I remember the shop well and the civil fellow who kept it. His name, I think, was Hearle, and he had some relatives of the same name who had shops in the same street. This shop was at the west end of the street and backed on to Wych Street; and at the back was a small recess, lighted by a few panes of glass generally somewhat obscured by the dust of ages. While Macaulay was looking round the shop a ray of sunshine fell through this little window on four little duodecimo volumes bound in vellum. He pulled out one of them to see what the work was, and great was his surprise and delight at finding these four volumes were the very French mémoires of which he had been in search for many years.
Macaulay spared no pains, no personal exertion, to secure a book he wanted. I remember a bookseller who resided in Great Turnstile telling me, many years ago, that one morning, when he began to take down his shutters, he saw a stout-built gentleman stumping up and down with bis umbrella, who, as soon as the shop was fairly opened, walked in and asked for a book which was in the catalogue which the bookseller had sent out the day before. He eventually found out that the purchaser was Mr. Macaulay, who had come all the way from Kensington, thus early, in order to secure the volume in question.
Let me go back for a moment to Holywell Street, and tell another story about Hearle's shop there, outside of which there was always a goodly array of books of all kinds. A dear and accomplished friend of mine, who took special interest in the political history of the closing half of the last century, had long been anxious to secure a copy of a certain collection of political tracts, published either by Almon or VOL. X.-No. 53.
Debrett, the precise title of which I do not at this minute recollect. There was not a bookseller in the United Kingdom known to have a large stock who had not been applied to for a copy; and a literary friend of his, who was travelling in the United States (to which so many books of this character are consigned), was commissioned to secure a copy at any price. But all was in vain. The anxious searcher after the book in question had given up all hopes of obtaining a copy when, strolling one afternoon through Holywell Street and casting his eyes on the volumes ranged outside Hearle's shop, he was startled and delighted to see the long-sought-for collection of -tracts. I need scarcely add that he at once secured the precious volumes, and, although not provided with the capacious pockets of Roxburghe's Duke, carried them away with him in triumph.
It was perhaps two or three years after I was first attacked with : bibliomania, and, adopting to a certain extent Chaucer's opinion
That out of olde bookes in good faithe
had begun to turn my long walks to good account among the bookstalls, that I had the good fortune to meet Leigh Hunt several times at dinner at the house of a mutual friend. I shall never forget the delight with which I listened to his after-dinner talk, especially the first time I met him. Of course he monopolised the talk. On that occasion his discourse was nearly akin to Elia's quaint and charming essay
« On Grace before Meat,' and he discoursed on the propriety of a grace before Milton, a grace before Shakespeare, and a devotional exercise proper to be said before reading the Faery Queen.' But I remember I was somewhat startled by a hint as to 'grace, not only before such super-sensual enjoyments as those which I have named, but before others of less intellectual character and more allied to what I heard Crabbe Robinson describe as “the animality of our nature.' When I read lately what his and my old friend Cowden Clarke said of his conversational powers, I felt he had done Leigh Hunt no more than justice. "Melodious in tone, alluring in accent, eloquent in choice of words, Leigh Hunt's talk was as delicious to listen to as rarest music.'
I remember on one of these memorable occasions being startled by what seemed to me "a parlous heresy' on the part of Leigh Hunt. The subject of his after-dinner oration on that occasion was books, and old books specially; and in the course of his varied criticisms and opinions he declared no one had ever found anything worth having in the “sixpenny box" at a bookstall.'
When he had wound up, and there was a lull in the conversation which followed, I ventured to dissent from this dogma; and though I am bound, in justice to the eloquent poet, to say he did not snub the short-sighted nervous stripling who had ventured to differ from him,
the objection urged against his heterodoxy only confirmed him in it. I was recently reminded of this incident by coming across one of the very books which I had so picked up out of a «sixpenny box' and had quoted in support of my view—an early copy of Thomas Randolph's Aristippus, or the Jovial Philoscpher.
Never find anything at a bookstall in the “sixpenny box ”?! greater mistake was never made. Some years ago a very able critic was stopped in the preparation of an article on a very interesting historical question for want of a certain pamphlet on the subject which, when published some twenty or thirty years before, had excited great attention. All the booksellers had been canvassed without success. At last he advertised for it, naming, as the price he was willing to give, about as many shillings as it was worth pence. He had a copy within eight-and-forty hours, with a large • 6d. pencilled on the titlepage, showing that it had been picked out of one of these despised receptacles for curiosities of literature.
Not find anything worth having in the sixpenny box' at a bookstall! Psha! When the collected edition of Defoe's works was published some thirty years ago, it was determined that the various pieces inserted in it should be reprinted from the editions of them superintended by Defoe himself. There was one tract which the editor had failed to find at the British Museum or any other public library, and which he had sought for in vain in the Row' or any bookseller's within the reach of ordinary West-end mortals. Somebody suggested that he should make a pilgrimage to Old Street, St. Luke's, and perhaps Brown might have a copy. Old Brown, as he was familiarly called, had great knowledge of books and book rarities, although perhaps he was more widely known for the extensive stock of manuscript sermons which he kept indexed according to texts, and which he was ready to lend or sell as his customers desired. I am afraid to say how many sermons on the text 'Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel ? 'he is reported to have sold on the death of the Duke of Wellington, and it is said he might have disposed of hundreds more if he had had them in stock. But to
back to my story. The editor inquired of Brown whether he had a copy of Defoe's tract. “No,' said Brown, 'I have not, and I don't know where you are likely to find one. But if you do meet with one, you will have to pay pretty handsomely for it.” “I am prepared to pay a fair price for it,' said the would-be customer, and left the shop. Now Old Brown had a 'sixpenny box' outside the door, and he had such a keen
eye to business, that I believe, if there was a box in London which would bear out Leigh Hunt's statement, it was that box in Old Street. But as the customer left the shop, his eye fell on the box, turned over the rubbish in it, and at last selected a volume which he found there. • I'll pay you for this out of the box !' • Thank you, sir,' said Brown, taking the proffered sixpence; "but, by the bye, what is it?' 'It is
a tract by Defoe,' was the answer, to old Brown's chagrin. For it was the very work of which the purchaser was in search. Who, after this, will back Leigh Hunt's unfounded dogma that you will never find anything worth having in a sixpenny box at a bookstall ?
But there are other hiding-places than those of which I have just been speaking, where curious out-of-the-way books may be found. At small brokers' shops, one drawer of a chest is frequently left open to show that it contains books for sale. I have before me at this moment a curious little black-letter 16mo, containing early English translations of Erasmus, which a shilling rescued from such company as it was then in.
As the accounts of these curious English versions in Lowndes are very imperfect, I venture to give a short notice of them. They are four in number, the first and fourth being unfortunately imperfect.
No. 1 is the first part of the Garden of Wisdom selected by Richard Taverner. It wants the title and first four folios, and ends on verso of folio xlviii. with the words · Here endeth the fyrst booke' and * These bookes are to be sold at the west dore of Poules by Wyllyam Telotson.'
No. 2 is The Second Booke of the Garden of Wysedome, wherein are conteyned wytty, pleasaunt and nette sayenges of renowned personages, collected by Rycharde Tauerner. Anno MDXXXIX. Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum,' and ends on the verso of folio 48 • Prynted at London by Richard Bankes. Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum.'
No. 3 is · Flores aliquot Sententiarum ex variis collecti scriptoribus. The Flovvers of Sentces [sic]gathered out of sundry wryters by Erasmus in Latine and Englished by Richard Tauerner. Huic libello non male conveniunt Mimi illi Publiani nuper ab eodem Richardo uersi. Londini ex ædibus Richardi Tauerner, anno MDXL., and ends on verso of B. iii., 'Printed in Flete strete very diligently under the correction of the selfe Richard Tauerner by Richard Bankes.'
No. 4, the last, is · Proverbes and Adagies gathered out of the Chiliades of Erasmus by Richarde Tauerner. With newe additions as well of Latyn proverbes as of Englysshe. Edwardus Whytchurche excudebat anno MDXLV. This is unfortunately imperfect, wanting all after folio lxx.
A quaint writer is Master Richard Taverner, and his Erasmus tracts repay the attention of students of early English.
My next prize from a similar source was one of greater curiosity and value. As I was hurrying to my office one morning some forty years ago, I espied on the top of a chest of drawers outside a broker's shop, opposite the Royal Mews in Pimlico, a pile of books. I looked over them, but there was only one which interested me—a small thin folio which on opening proved to be an early Latin manuscript. The worthy broker said it was very old and very curious,' and asked a larger sum for it than I was prepared to pay without a fuller examination than I had then time to give to it. So I left it, but was vexed with myself for the rest of the day that I had done so, fearing it might have been sold when I returned homewards in the afternoon. Fortunately it was still on the top of the drawers when I returned ; and although I had until then never indulged in the luxury of buying manuscripts, the result of my further examination was to show me that the broker was right, and that the manuscript was curious as well as old, and I risked a sovereign, or a sovereign and a half, which was the price asked for it, and secured it, as it contained a collection of Latin stories with moralisations; and I came to the conclusion that it was an early manuscript of the world-renowned Gesta, Romanorum. But my learned friend Mr. Thomas Wright, a great authority upon all such matters, who saw it soon after I had bought it, pronounced the manuscript to be of the thirteenth century, and confirmed my opinion as to the interest and value of it, for it was obviously an English collection, the scene of many of the tales being laid in this country. At his suggestion I transcribed a number of the tales and sent them to that interesting German antiquarian journal, edited by Moriz Haupt and Heinrich Hoffman, entitled Altdeutsche Blätter (Leipzig, 1836-40), the precursor of Wright and Halliwell's curious collection, the Reliquiæ Antiquæ. The tales so transcribed will be found at pp. 74-82 of the second volume. My impression is that when transferred to the British Museum, which it was at the earnest solicitation of Sir Frederic Madden, the manuscript was ascertained to be one of Odo de Cerington. But on this I cannot, after so many years, speak with certainty. But I must be pardoned if I make a short digression before I tell the story of my third prize from a broker's shop.
In the year 1846 I addressed a letter to the editor of a wellknown periodical suggesting an article which I thought might be suitable to it, and in consequence of his invitation called upon him at his office to talk the matter over with him. That was a day • lapidi candidiore notare.' It was the first time I met one who became one of my most dear and most honoured friends. How often have I regretted that I had not known him before! At that interview I was charmed and struck by his strong common sense and thorough right-mindedness; but it was only when it was my privilege to know him intimately that I became aware that, great as were the good qualities in him which I had at once recognised, they were but as straw in the balance as compared with his kindly and affectionate nature. Advisedly I do not mention his name, that I may not be suspected of self-glorification. Those who know me, and who knew the excellent man to whom I refer, will easily recognise him, and will judge the emotion with which, after our friendship had extended over some twenty years, I read these touching lines from his excellent son :