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first motion when he saw a book within reach was to put it in his

pocket.  Every one knew his habit, and when a volume was lost at a

sale the auctioneer duly announced it, and knocked it down to the

enthusiast, who regularly paid the price.  When he went to a private

view of books about to be sold, the officials at the door would ask

him, as he was going out, if he did not happen to have an Elzevir

Horace or an Aldine Ovid in his pocket.  Then he would search those

receptacles and exclaim, "Yes, yes, here it is; so much obliged to

you; I am so absent."  M. Janin mentions an English noble, a "Sir

Fitzgerald," who had the same tastes, but who unluckily fell into

the hands of the police.  Yet M. Janin has a tenderness for the

book-stealer, who, after all, is a lover of books.  The moral

position of the malefactor is so delicate and difficult that we

shall attempt to treat of it in the severe, though rococo, manner of

Aristotle's "Ethics."  Here follows an extract from the lost

Aristotelian treatise "Concerning Books":-

"Among the contemplative virtues we reckon the love of books.  Now

this virtue, like courage or liberality, has its mean, its excess,

and its defect.  The defect is indifference, and the man who is

defective as to the love of books has no name in common parlance.

Therefore, we may call him the Robustious Philistine.  This man will

cut the leaves of his own or his friend's volumes with the butter-

knife at breakfast.  Also he is just the person wilfully to mistake

the double sense of the term 'fly-leaves,' and to stick the 'fly-

leaves' of his volumes full of fly-hooks.  He also loves dogs'-ears,

and marks his place with his pipe when he shuts a book in a hurry;

or he will set the leg of his chair on a page to keep it open.  He

praises those who tear off margins for pipe-lights, and he makes

cigarettes with the tissue-paper that covers engravings.  When his

books are bound, he sees that the margin is cut to the quick.  He

tells you too, that 'HE buys books to read them.' But he does not

say why he thinks it needful to spoil them.  Also he will drag off

bindings--or should we perhaps call this crime [Greek text], or

brutality, rather than mere vice? for vice is essentially human, but

to tear off bindings is bestial.  Thus they still speak of a certain

monster who lived during the French Revolution, and who, having

purchased volumes attired in morocco, and stamped with the devices

of the oligarchs, would rip off the leather or vellum, and throw

them into the fire or out of the window, saying that 'now he could

read with unwashed hands at his ease.'  Such a person, then, is the

man indifferent to books, and he sins by way of defect, being

deficient in the contemplative virtue of book-loving.  As to the man

who is exactly in the right mean, we call him the book-lover.  His

happiness consists not in reading, which is an active virtue, but in

the contemplation of bindings, and illustrations, and title-pages.

Thus his felicity partakes of the nature of the bliss we attribute

to the gods, for that also is contemplative, and we call the book-

lover 'happy,' and even 'blessed,' but within the limits of mortal

happiness.  But, just as in the matter of absence of fear there is a

mean which we call courage, and a defect which we call cowardice,

and an excess which is known as foolhardiness; so it is in the case

of the love of books.  As to the mean, we have seen that it is the

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