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thumb, the friend has grown cold, and has let the poems slip into

some corner of his library, whence they were removed on some day of

doom and of general clearing out.  The sale of the library of a late

learned prelate who had Boileau's hatred of a dull book was a scene

to be avoided by his literary friends.  The Bishop always gave the

works which were offered to him a fair chance.  He read till he

could read no longer, cutting the pages as he went, and thus his

progress could be traced like that of a backwoodsman who "blazes"

his way through a primeval forest.  The paper-knife generally ceased

to do duty before the thirtieth page.  The melancholy of the book-

hunter is aroused by two questions, "Whence?" and "Whither?"  The

bibliophile asks about his books the question which the

metaphysician asks about his soul.  Whence came they?  Their value

depends a good deal on the answer.  If they are stamped with arms,

then there is a book ("Armorial du Bibliophile," by M. Guigard)

which tells you who was their original owner.  Any one of twenty

coats-of-arms on the leather is worth a hundred times the value of

the volume which it covers.  If there is no such mark, the fancy is

left to devise a romance about the first owner, and all the hands

through which the book has passed.  That Vanini came from a Jesuit

college, where it was kept under lock and key.  That copy of Agrippa

"De Vanitate Scientiarum" is marked, in a crabbed hand and in faded

ink, with cynical Latin notes.  What pessimist two hundred years ago

made his grumbling so permanent?  One can only guess, but part of

the imaginative joys of the book-hunter lies ' in the fruitless

conjecture.  That other question "Whither?" is graver.  Whither are

our treasures to be scattered?  Will they find kind masters? or,

worst fate of books, fall into the hands of women who will sell them

to the trunk-maker?  Are the leaves to line a box or to curl a

maiden's locks?  Are the rarities to become more and more rare, and

at last fetch prodigious prices?  Some unlucky men are able partly

to solve these problems in their own lifetime.  They are constrained

to sell their libraries--an experience full of bitterness, wrath,

and disappointment.

Selling books is nearly as bad as losing friends, than which life

has no worse sorrow.  A book is a friend whose face is constantly

changing.  If you read it when you are recovering from an illness,

and return to it years after, it is changed surely, with the change

in yourself.  As a man's tastes and opinions are developed his books

put on a different aspect.  He hardly knows the "Poems and Ballads"

he used to declaim, and cannot recover the enigmatic charm of

"Sordello."  Books change like friends, like ourselves, like

everything; but they are most piquant in the contrasts they provoke,

when the friend who gave them and wrote them is a success, though we

laughed at him; a failure, though we believed in him; altered in any

case, and estranged from his old self and old days.  The vanished

past returns when we look at the pages.  The vicissitudes of years

are printed and packed in a thin octavo, and the shivering ghosts of

desire and hope return to their forbidden home in the heart and

fancy.  It is as well to have the power of recalling them always at

hand, and to be able to take a comprehensive glance at the emotions

which were so powerful and full of life, and now are more faded and

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