The Haunted Bookshop eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 248 pages of information about The Haunted Bookshop.

“I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed myself,” said Gilbert.  “I’m going to come again and study your shelves.”

“Well, keep it dark about the young lady,” said the bookseller.  “I don’t want all you young blades dropping in here to unsettle her mind.  If she falls in love with anybody in this shop, it’ll have to be Joseph Conrad or John Keats!”

As he passed out, Gilbert saw Roger Mifflin engaged in argument with a bearded man who looked like a college professor.  “Carlyle’s Oliver Cromwell?” he was saying.  “Yes, indeed!  Right over here!  Hullo, that’s odd!  It was here.”

Chapter II The Corn Cob Club[1]

[1] The latter half of this chapter may be omitted by all readers who are not booksellers.

The Haunted Bookshop was a delightful place, especially of an evening, when its drowsy alcoves were kindled with the brightness of lamps shining on the rows of volumes.  Many a passer-by would stumble down the steps from the street in sheer curiosity; others, familiar visitors, dropped in with the same comfortable emotion that a man feels on entering his club.  Roger’s custom was to sit at his desk in the rear, puffing his pipe and reading; though if any customer started a conversation, the little man was quick and eager to carry it on.  The lion of talk lay only sleeping in him; it was not hard to goad it up.

It may be remarked that all bookshops that are open in the evening are busy in the after-supper hours.  Is it that the true book-lovers are nocturnal gentry, only venturing forth when darkness and silence and the gleam of hooded lights irresistibly suggest reading?  Certainly night-time has a mystic affinity for literature, and it is strange that the Esquimaux have created no great books.  Surely, for most of us, an arctic night would be insupportable without O. Henry and Stevenson.  Or, as Roger Mifflin remarked during a passing enthusiasm for Ambrose Bierce, the true noctes ambrosianae are the noctes ambrose bierceianae.

But Roger was prompt in closing Parnassus at ten o’clock.  At that hour he and Bock (the mustard-coloured terrier, named for Boccaccio) would make the round of the shop, see that everything was shipshape, empty the ash trays provided for customers, lock the front door, and turn off the lights.  Then they would retire to the den, where Mrs. Mifflin was generally knitting or reading.  She would brew a pot of cocoa and they would read or talk for half an hour or so before bed.  Sometimes Roger would take a stroll along Gissing Street before turning in.  All day spent with books has a rather exhausting effect on the mind, and he used to enjoy the fresh air sweeping up the dark Brooklyn streets, meditating some thought that had sprung from his reading, while Bock sniffed and padded along in the manner of an elderly dog at night.

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The Haunted Bookshop from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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