The Haunted Bookshop eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 189 pages of information about The Haunted Bookshop.
Words can’t describe the cunning of some books.  You’ll think you’ve shaken them off your trail, and then one day some innocent-looking customer will pop in and begin to talk, and you’ll know he’s an unconscious agent of book-destiny.  There’s an old sea-captain who drops in here now and then.  He’s simply the novels of Captain Marryat put into flesh.  He has me under a kind of spell; I know I shall have to read Peter Simple before I die, just because the old fellow loves it so.  That’s why I call this place the Haunted Bookshop.  Haunted by the ghosts of the books I haven’t read.  Poor uneasy spirits, they walk and walk around me.  There’s only one way to lay the ghost of a book, and that is to read it.”

“I know what you mean,” said Titania.  “I haven’t read much Bernard Shaw, but I feel I shall have to.  He meets me at every turn, bullying me.  And I know lots of people who are simply terrorized by H. G. Wells.  Every time one of his books comes out, and that’s pretty often, they’re in a perfect panic until they’ve read it.”

Roger chuckled.  “Some have even been stampeded into subscribing to the New Republic for that very purpose.”

“But speaking of the Haunted Bookshop, what’s your special interest in that Oliver Cromwell book?”

“Oh, I’m glad you mentioned it,” said Roger.  “I must put it back in its place on the shelf.”  He ran back to the den to get it, and just then the bell clanged at the door.  A customer came in, and the one-sided gossip was over for the time being.

Chapter VII Aubrey Takes Lodgings

I am sensible that Mr. Aubrey Gilbert is by no means ideal as the leading juvenile of our piece.  The time still demands some explanation why the leading juvenile wears no gold chevrons on his left sleeve.  As a matter of fact, our young servant of the Grey-Matter Agency had been declined by a recruiting station and a draft board on account of flat feet; although I must protest that their flatness detracts not at all from his outward bearing nor from his physical capacity in the ordinary concerns of amiable youth.  When the army “turned him down flat,” as he put it, he had entered the service of the Committee on Public Information, and had carried on mysterious activities in their behalf for over a year, up to the time when the armistice was signed by the United Press.  Owing to a small error of judgment on his part, now completely forgotten, but due to the regrettable delay of the German envoys to synchronize with over-exuberant press correspondents, the last three days of the war had been carried on without his active assistance.  After the natural recuperation necessary on the 12th of November, he had been re-absorbed by the Grey-Matter Advertising Agency, with whom he had been connected for several years, and where his sound and vivacious qualities were highly esteemed.  It was in the course of drumming up post-war business that he had swung so far out of his ordinary orbit as to call on Roger Mifflin.  Perhaps these explanations should have been made earlier.

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The Haunted Bookshop from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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