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virtue of the true book-lover, while the defect constitutes the sin

of the Robustious Philistine.  But the extreme is found in

covetousness, and the covetous man who is in the extreme state of

book-loving, is the biblioklept, or book-stealer.  Now his vice

shows itself, not in contemplation (for of contemplation there can

be no excess), but in action.  For books are procured, as we say, by

purchase, or by barter, and these are voluntary exchanges, both the

seller and the buyer being willing to deal.  But books are, again,

procured in another way, by involuntary contract--that is, when the

owner of the book is unwilling to part with it, but he whose own the

book is not is determined to take it.  The book-stealer is such a

man as this, and he possesses himself of books with which the owner

does not intend to part, by virtue of a series of involuntary

contracts.  Again, the question may be raised, whether is the

Robustious Philistine who despises books, or the biblioklept who

adores them out of measure and excessively, the worse citizen?  Now,

if we are to look to the consequences of actions only (as the

followers of Bentham advise), clearly the Robustious Philistine is

the worse citizen, for he mangles, and dirties, and destroys books

which it is the interest of the State to preserve.  But the

biblioklept treasures and adorns the books he has acquired; and when

he dies, or goes to prison, the State receives the benefit at his

sale.  Thus Libri, who was the greatest of biblioklepts, rescued

many of the books he stole from dirt and misuse, and had them bound

royally in purple and gold.  Also, it may be argued that books

naturally belong to him who can appreciate them; and if good books

are in a dull or indifferent man's keeping, this is the sort of

slavery which we call "unnatural" in our POLITICS, and which is not

to be endured.  Shall we say, then, that the Robustious Philistine

is the worse citizen, while the Biblioklept is the worse man?  But

this is perhaps matter for a separate disquisition."

This fragment of the lost Aristotelian treatise "Concerning Books,"

shows what a difficulty the Stagirite had in determining the precise

nature of the moral offence of the biblioklept.  Indeed, both as a

collector and as an intuitive moralist, Aristotle must have found it

rather difficult to condemn the book-thief.  He, doubtless, went on

to draw distinctions between the man who steals books to sell them

again for mere pecuniary profit (which he would call "chrematistic,"

or "unnatural," book-stealing), and the man who steals them because

he feels that he is their proper and natural possessor.  The same

distinction is taken by Jules Janin, who was a more constant student

of Horace than of Aristotle.  In his imaginary dialogue of

bibliophiles, Janin introduces a character who announces the death

of M. Libri.  The tolerant person who brings the sad news proposes

"to cast a few flowers on the melancholy tomb.  He was a

bibliophile, after all.  What do you say to it?  Many a good fellow

has stolen books, and died in grace at the last."  "Yes," replies

the president of the club, "but the good fellows did not sell the

books they stole . . . Cest une grande honte, une grande misere."

This Libri was an Inspector-General of French Libraries under Louis

Philippe.  When he was tried, in 1848, it was calculated that the

sum of his known thefts amounted to 20,000 pounds.  Many of his

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