Click here to Download The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book by Christopher Morley Language English having PDF Size 1.5 MB and No of Pages 101.
The shop had a warm and comfortable obscurity, a kind of drowsy dusk, stabbed here and there by bright cones of yellow light from green-shaded electrics. There was an all-pervasive drift of tobacco smoke, which eddied and fumed under the glass lamp shades.
The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book by Christopher Morley
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Passing down a narrow aisle between the alcoves the visitor noticed that some of the compartments were wholly in darkness; in others where lamps were glowing he could see a table and chairs. In one corner, under a sign lettered ESSAYS, an elderly gentleman was reading, with a face of fanatical ecstasy illumined by the sharp glare of electricity.
But there was no wreath of smoke about him so the newcomer concluded he was not the proprietor. As the young man approached the back of the shop the general effect became more and more fantastic. On some skylight far overhead he could hear the rain drumming.
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But otherwise the place was completely silent, peopled only (so it seemed) by the gurgitating whorls of smoke and the bright profile of the essay reader. It seemed like a secret fane, some shrine of curious rites, and the young man’s throat was tightened by a stricture which was half agitation and half tobacco.
Towering above him into the gloom were shelves and shelves of books, darkling toward the roof. He saw a table with a cylinder of brown paper and twine, evidently where purchases might be wrapped; but there was no sign of an attendant. “This place may indeed be haunted,” he thought.
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“Perhaps by the delighted soul of Sir Walter Raleigh, patron of the weed, but seemingly not by the proprietors.” His eyes, searching the blue and vaporous vistas of the shop, were caught by a circle of brightness that shone with a curious egg-like lustre.
It was round and white, gleaming in the sheen of a hanging light, a bright island in a surf of tobacco smoke. He came more close, and found it was a bald head. This head (he then saw) surmounted a small, sharp-eyed man who sat tilted back in a swivel chair, in a corner which seemed the nerve centre of the establishment.
The large pigeon-holed desk in front of him was piled high with volumes of all sorts, with tins of tobacco and newspaper clippings and letters. An antiquated typewriter, looking something like a harpsichord, was half-buried in sheets of manuscript. The little baldheaded man was smoking a corn-cob pipe and reading a cook-book. The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book
“I beg your pardon,” said the caller, pleasantly; “is this the proprietor?” Mr. Roger Mifflin, the proprietor of “Parnassus at Home,” looked up, and the visitor saw that he had keen blue eyes, a short red beard, and a convincing air of competent originality. “It is,” said Mr. Mifflin. “Anything I can do for you?” “My name is Aubrey Gilbert,” said the young man.
“I am representing the Grey-Matter Advertising Agency. I want to discuss with you the advisability of your letting us handle your advertising account, prepare snappy copy for you, and place it in large circulation mediums. Now the war’s over, you ought to prepare some constructive campaign for bigger business.”
The bookseller’s face beamed. He put down his cook-book, blew an expanding gust of smoke, and looked up brightly. Then a new conception of the matter struck me. It is intolerable for a human being to go on doing any task as a penance, under duress. The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book
No matter what the work is, one must spiritualize it in some way, shatter the old idea of it into bits and rebuild it nearer to the heart’s desire. How was I to do this with dish-washing? “I broke a good many plates while I was pondering over the matter.
Then it occurred to me that here was just the relaxation I needed. I had been worrying over the mental strain of being surrounded all day long by vociferous books, crying out at me their conflicting views as to the glories and agonies of life. Why not make dish-washing my balm and poultice?
“When one views a stubborn fact from a new angle, it is amazing how all its contours and edges change shape! Immediately my dishpan began to glow with a kind of philosophic halo! The warm, soapy water became a sovereign medicine to retract hot blood from the head. The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book
The homely act of washing and drying cups and saucers became a symbol of the order and cleanliness that man imposes on the unruly world about him. I tore down my book rack and reading lamp from over the sink. “Mr. Gilbert,” he went on, “do not laugh at me when I tell you that I have evolved a whole kitchen philosophy of my own.
I find the kitchen the shrine of our civilization, the focus of all that is comely in life. The ruddy shine of the stove is as beautiful as any sunset. A well-polished jug or spoon is as fair, as complete and beautiful, as any sonnet. The dish mop, properly rinsed and wrung and hung outside the back door to dry, is a whole sermon in itself.
The stars never look so bright as they do from the kitchen door after the ice-box pan is emptied and the whole place is ‘redd up,’ as the Scotch say.” “A very delightful philosophy indeed,” said Gilbert. “And now that we have finished our meal, I insist upon your letting me give you a hand with the washing up. The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book
I am eager to test this dish-pantheism of yours!” “My dear fellow,” said Mifflin, laying a restraining hand on his impetuous guest, “it is a poor philosophy that will not abide denial now and then. No, no—I did not ask you to spend the evening with me to wash dishes.” And he led the way back to his sitting room.
“When I saw you come in,” said Mifflin, “I was afraid you might be a newspaper man, looking for an interview. A young journalist came to see us once, with very unhappy results. He wheedled himself into Mrs. Mifflin’s good graces, and ended by putting us both into a book, called Parnassus on Wheels, which has been rather a trial to me.
In that book he attributes to me a number of shallow and sugary observations upon bookselling that have been an annoyance to the trade. I am happy to say, though, that his book had only a trifling sale.” “I have never heard of it,” said Gilbert. The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book
“If you are really interested in bookselling you should come here some evening to a meeting of the Corn Cob Club. Once a month a number of booksellers gather here and we discuss matters of bookish concern over corn-cobs and cider. We have all sorts and conditions of booksellers: one is a fanatic on the subject of libraries.
He thinks that every public library should be dynamited. Another thinks that moving pictures will destroy the book trade. What rot! Surely everything that arouses people’s minds, that makes them alert and questioning, increases their appetite for books.”
“The life of a bookseller is very demoralizing to the intellect,” he went on after a pause. “He is surrounded by innumerable books; he cannot possibly read them all; he dips into one and picks up a scrap from another. His mind gradually fills itself with miscellaneous flotsam, with superficial opinions, with a thousand half-knowledges. The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book
Almost unconsciously he begins to rate literature according to what people ask for. He begins to wonder whether Ralph Waldo Trine isn’t really greater than Ralph Waldo Emerson, whether J. M. Chapple isn’t as big a man as J. M. Barrie. That way lies intellectual suicide.
“One thing, however, you must grant the good bookseller. He is tolerant. He is patient of all ideas and theories. Surrounded, engulfed by the torrent of men’s words, he is willing to listen to them all. Even to the publisher’s salesman he turns an indulgent ear.
He is willing to be humbugged for the weal of humanity. He hopes unceasingly for good books to be born. MIFFLIN—As far as I have been able to observe, making money is the easiest thing in the world. All you have to do is to turn out an honest product, something that the public needs. The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book Download
Then you have to let them know that you have it, and teach them that they need it. They will batter down your front door in their eagerness to get it. But if you begin to hand them gold bricks, if you begin to sell them books built like an apartment house, all marble front and all brick behind, you’re cutting your own throat.
Or rather cutting your own pocket, which is the same thing. MEREDITH—I think Mifflin’s right. You know the kind of place our shop is: a regular Fifth Avenue store, all plate glass front and marble columns glowing in the indirect lighting like a birchwood at full moon.
We sell hundreds of dollars’ worth of bunkum every day because people ask for it; but I tell you we do it with reluctance. It’s rather the custom in our shop to scoff at the book-buying public and call them boobs, but they really want good books—the poor souls don’t know how to get them. The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book Download
Still, Jerry has a certain grain of truth to his credit. I get ten times more satisfaction in selling a copy of Newton’s The Amenities of Book-Collecting than I do in selling a copy of—well, Tarzan; but it’s poor business to impose your own private tastes on your customers.
All you can do is to hint them along tactfully, when you get a chance, toward the stuff that counts. QUINCY—You remind me of something that happened in our book department the other day. A flapper came in and said she had forgotten the name of the book she wanted, but it was something about a young man who had been brought up by the monks.
I was stumped. I tried her with The Cloister and the Hearth and Monastery Bells and Legends of the Monastic Orders and so on, but her face was blank. Then one of the salesgirls overheard us talking, and she guessed it right off the bat. Of course it was Tarzan. The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book Download
It was a cold, clear night as Mr. Aubrey Gilbert left the Haunted Bookshop that evening, and set out to walk homeward. Without making a very conscious choice, he felt instinctively that it would be agreeable to walk back to Manhattan rather than permit the roaring disillusion of the subway to break in upon his meditations.
It is to be feared that Aubrey would have badly flunked any quizzing on the chapters of Somebody’s Luggage which the bookseller had read aloud. His mind was swimming rapidly in the agreeable, unfettered fashion of a stream rippling downhill.
As O. Henry puts it in one of his most delightful stories: “He was outwardly decent and managed to preserve his aquarium, but inside he was impromptu and full of unexpectedness.” To say that he was thinking of Miss Chapman would imply too much power of ratiocination and abstract scrutiny on his part. The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book Download
He was not thinking: he was being thought. Down the accustomed channels of his intellect he felt his mind ebbing with the irresistible movement of tides drawn by the blandishing moon. And across these shimmering estuaries of impulse his will, a lost and naked athlete.
Was painfully attempting to swim, but making much leeway and already almost resigned to being carried out to sea. He stopped a moment at Weintraub’s drug store, on the corner of Gissing Street and Wordsworth Avenue, to buy some cigarettes, unfailing solace of an agitated bosom.
It was the usual old-fashioned pharmacy of those parts of Brooklyn: tall red, green, and blue vases of liquid in the windows threw blotches of coloured light onto the pavement; on the panes was affixed white china lettering: H. WE TRAUB, DEUT CHE APOTHEKER. The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book Free
Inside, the customary shelves of labelled jars, glass cases holding cigars, nostrums and toilet knick-knacks, and in one corner an ancient revolving bookcase deposited long ago by the Tabard Inn Library. The shop was empty, but as he opened the door a bell buzzed sharply.
In a back chamber he could hear voices. As he waited idly for the druggist to appear, Aubrey cast a tolerant eye over the dusty volumes in the twirling case. There were the usual copies of Harold MacGrath’s The Man on the Box, A Girl of the Limberlost, and The Houseboat on the Styx.
The Divine Fire, much grimed, leaned against Joe Chapple’s Heart Throbs. Those familiar with the Tabard Inn bookcases still to be found in outlying drug-shops know that the stock has not been “turned” for many a year. Aubrey was the more surprised. The Haunted Bookshop PDF Book Free
On spinning the the case round, to find wedged in between two other volumes the empty cover of a book that had been torn loose from the pages to which it belonged. He glanced at the lettering on the back. The bookseller’s morning routine was brisk and habitual.
He was generally awakened about half-past seven by the jangling bell that balanced on a coiled spring at the foot of the stairs. This ringing announced the arrival of Becky, the old scrubwoman who came each morning to sweep out the shop and clean the floors for the day’s traffic.