With all the books on my shelves, with all the thoughts of the thinkers shaded by my particular temperament, I decided coolly and deliberately that I should continue to do what I had been trained to want to do. I would drink but oh, more skilfully, more discreetly, than ever before. Never again would I be a peripatetic conflagration. Never again would I invoke the White Logic.
They were pleasant rooms, still unpapered, and the furniture chiefly of amber-coloured varnished deal; the drawing-room, chiefly with green furniture, with only a few brighter dashes here and there, and a sociable amount of comfortable litter already. The study was full of new shelves and old books, and across the window-sill lay a gray figure, with a book and a sheet of paper. "You here, Terry!
But all the books on the shelves were bound uniformly in marble boards with a red backing. He sprang down from the steps with the vigour of a boy, and seizing the book looked in the fly leaf for a name. There was a name, the name of a bookseller in Leamington, and as he closed the book again, some one rapped upon the door. Sir Charles opened it and saw Mr. Mardale.
There was a smaller tent and also a lean-to in this camp. The camp dishes of white enamel ware were kept in a wooden box, nailed to a close-by tree; in this box the guide had put shelves, resting them on wooden cleats. The cupboard had a door that shut tight and fastened securely to keep out the little wild creatures of the woods.
Around this immense bare amphitheater, which had no growth save scant cactus and patches of grass, could be seen long lines of shelves where the sea-levels had been in successive ages of the past. Near the middle of the curve, on a bleached bank, stood a lonely little hut, facing the sea. Old and weather-beaten, out of place there, it held and fascinated the gaze.
He had clung so bravely, so stubbornly, to that battered bit of a house; to his garden which he had never realized had long since ceased to be anything but a plot of waist-high bushes and weeds. Once when she recollected those countless rows of poignantly wistful faces on the shelves of that back-room workshop she wondered if she had not been disloyal, after all.
The previous heavy rolling of the brig had nearly made a wreck of my trade room, for everything had been jerked off the shelves, and cases of liquor, powder, cartridges, concertinas and women's hats, etc., were lying burst open on the floor; so, calling a couple of native sailors to help me, I was just going below, when I heard Captain Hayes's sharp tones calling out to our officers to stand by.
It was fitted up with exquisite taste; calm subdued colouring, with choice marble busts of statesmen, ancient and of our times, but the shelves were empty. "They are empty," she said, "but the volumes to fill them are already collected. Yes," she added in a tremulous voice, and slightly pressing the arm on which she leant.
Life is something of which the streets are oblivious. But here on the gargoyle shelves, the high, shadowed shelves of the old book store truth stands in all its terrible reality, wrapped in its authentic habiliments. Dr. Hickson of the psychopathic laboratory would give these curious rainy day phantasts identities as weird as the volumes they caress. But the old book store clerk is more kind.
Aubrey says that "moving in goes it one better," but his preference is based on the solid satisfaction he takes in putting in two shelves where one grew before and in providing towel-racks and closet-hooks wherever there is an inviting wall-space for them.