If he had not had so gentle a disposition and so loving a recollection of his uncle, we might have fancied him terribly bored by that worthy; for the elder Pliny was a heluo miraculorum, believing in and jotting down everything he heard, saw or read, like the immortal Mr. Pickwick. A book or a reader was ever at his elbow a tablet or parchment ever within reach.
They avouch that a heluo or great eater has a voracious elve to be his attender, called a joint-eater or just-halver, feeding on the pith and quintessence of what the man eats; and that, therefore, he continues lean like a hawk or heron, notwithstanding his devouring appetite; yet it would seem they convey that substance elsewhere, for these subterraneans eat but little in their dwellings, their food being exactly clean, and served up by pleasant children, like enchanted puppets.
Christie was heluo librorum! and like others who have that taste, and can only gratify it in the interval of manual exercise, she read very intensely in her hours of study. A book absorbed her. She was like a leech on these occasions, non missura cutem. Even Jean Carnie, her co-adjutor or "neebor," as they call it, found it best to keep out of her way till the book was sucked.