Click here to Download The Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac PDF Book by Eugene Field English having PDF Size 1 MB and No of Pages 70.
At this moment, when I am about to begin the most important undertaking of my life, I recall the sense of abhorrence with which I have at different times read the confessions of men famed for their prowess in the realm of love. These boastings have always shocked me, for I reverence love as the noblest of the passions.
The Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac PDF Book by Eugene Field
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And it is impossible for me to conceive how one who has truly fallen victim to its benign influence can ever thereafter speak flippantly of it. Yet there have been, and there still are, many who take a seeming delight in telling you how many conquests they have made, and they not infrequently have the bad taste to explain with wearisome prolixity the ways and the means whereby those conquests were wrought.
As, forsooth, an unfeeling huntsman is forever boasting of the game he has slaughtered and is forever dilating upon the repulsive details of his butcheries. I have always contended that one who is in love (and having once been in love is to be always in love) has, actually, no confession to make. Love is so guileless, so proper.
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So pure a passion as to involve none of those things which require or which admit of confession. He, therefore, who surmises that in this exposition of my affaires du coeur there is to be any betrayal of confidences, or any discussion, suggestion, or hint likely either to shame love or its votaries or to bring a blush to the cheek of the fastidious—he is grievously in error.
Nor am I going to boast; for I have made no conquests. I am in no sense a hero. For many, very many years I have walked in a pleasant garden, enjoying sweet odors and soothing spectacles; no predetermined itinerary has controlled my course; I have wandered whither I pleased, and very many times I have strayed so far into the tangle-wood and thickets as almost to have lost my way.
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And now it is my purpose to walk that pleasant garden once more, inviting you to bear me company and to share with me what satisfaction may accrue from an old man’s return to old-time places and old-time loves. As a child I was serious-minded. I cared little for those sports which usually excite the ardor of youth.
To out-of-door games and exercises I had particular aversion. I was born in a southern latitude, but at the age of six years I went to live with my grandmother in New Hampshire, both my parents having fallen victims to the cholera. This change from the balmy temperature of the South to the rigors of the North was not agreeable to me.
And I have always held it responsible for that delicate health which has attended me through life. My grandmother encouraged my disinclination to play; she recognized in me that certain seriousness of mind which I remember to have heard her say I inherited from her, and she determined to make of me what she had failed to make of any of her own sons. The Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac PDF Book
A professional expounder of the only true faith of Congregationalism. For this reason, and for the further reason that at the tender age of seven years I publicly avowed my desire to become a clergyman, an ambition wholly sincere at that time—for these reasons was I duly installed as prime favorite in my grandmother’s affections.
As distinctly as though it were but yesterday do I recall the time when I met my first love. It was in the front room of the old homestead, and the day was a day in spring. The front room answered those purposes which are served by the so-called parlor of the present time. I remember the low ceiling, the big fireplace, the long, broad mantelpiece, the andirons and fender of brass.
The tall clock with its jocund and roseate moon, the bellows that was always wheezy, the wax flowers under a glass globe in the corner, an allegorical picture of Solomon’s temple, another picture of little Samuel at prayer, the high, stiff-back chairs, the foot-stool with its gayly embroidered top, the mirror in its gilt-and-black frame— all these things I remember well, and with feelings of tender reverence. The Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac PDF Book
And yet that day I now recall was well-nigh threescore and ten years ago! Best of all I remember the case in which my grandmother kept her books, a mahogany structure, massive and dark, with doors composed of diamond-shaped figures of glass cunningly set in a framework of lead. I was in my seventh year then, and I had learned to read I know not when.
The back and current numbers of the “Well-Spring” had fallen prey to my insatiable appetite for literature. With the story of the small boy who stole a pin, repented of and confessed that crime, and then became a good and great man, I was as familiar as if I myself had invented that ingenious and instructive tale.
I could lisp the moral numbers of Watts and the didactic hymns of Wesley, and the annual reports of the American Tract Society had already revealed to me the sphere of usefulness in which my grandmother hoped I would ultimately figure with discretion and zeal. And yet my heart was free. The Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac PDF Book
Wholly untouched of that gentle yet deathless passion which was to become my delight, my inspiration, and my solace, it awaited the coming of its first love. Last night, having written what you have just read about the benefits of fairy literature, I bethought me to renew my acquaintance with some of those tales which so often have delighted and solaced me.
So I piled at least twenty chosen volumes on the table at the head of my bed, and I daresay it was nigh daylight when I fell asleep. I began my entertainment with several pages from Keightley’s “Fairy Mythology,” and followed it up with random bits from Crofton Croker’s “Traditions of the South of Ireland,” Mrs. Carey’s “Legends of the French Provinces.”
Andrew Lang’s Green, Blue and Red fairy books, Laboulaye’s “Last Fairy Tales,” Hauff’s “The Inn in the Spessart,” Julia Goddard’s “Golden Weathercock,” Frere’s “Eastern Fairy Legends,” Asbjornsen’s “Folk Tales,” Susan Pindar’s “Midsummer Fays,” Nisbit Bain’s “Cossack Fairy Tales,” etc., etc. The Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac PDF Book
I fell asleep with a copy of Villamaria’s fairy stories in my hands, and I had a delightful dream wherein, under the protection and guidance of my fairy godmother, I undertook the rescue of a beautiful princess who had been enchanted by a cruel witch and was kept in prison by the witch’s son, a hideous ogre with seven heads, whose companions were four equally hideous dragons.
This undertaking in which I was engaged involved a period of five years, but time is of precious little consideration to one when he is dreaming of exploits achieved in behalf of a beautiful princess. My fairy godmother (she wore a mob-cap and was hunchbacked) took good care of me.
And conducted me safely through all my encounters with demons, giants, dragons, witches, serpents, hippogriffins, ogres, etc.; and I had just rescued the princess and broken the spell which bound her, and we were about to “live in peace to the end of our lives,” when I awoke to find it was all a dream. The Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac PDF Book
And that the gas-light over my bed had been blazing away during the entire period of my five-year war for the delectable maiden. This incident gives me an opportunity to say that observation has convinced me that all good and true book-lovers practise the pleasing and improving avocation of reading in bed. Indeed.
I fully believe with Judge Methuen that no book can be appreciated until it has been slept with and dreamed over. You recall, perhaps, that eloquent passage in his noble defence of the poet Archias, wherein Cicero (not Kikero) refers to his own pursuit of literary studies: “Haec studia adolescentiam alunt, senectutem oblectant.
Secundas res ornant, adversis perfugium ac solatium praebent; delectant domi, non impediunt foris; PERNOCTANT nobiscum, peregrinantur, rusticantur!” By the gods! you spoke tally, friend Cicero; for it is indeed so, that these pursuits nourish our earlier and delight our later years, dignifying the minor details of life and affording a perennial refuge and solace. The Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac PDF Book Download
At home they please us and in no vocation elsewhere do they embarrass us; they are with us by night, they go with us upon our travels, and even upon our retirement into the country do they accompany us! I have italicized pernoctant because it is that word which demonstrates beyond all possibility of doubt that Cicero made a practice of reading in bed.
Why, I can almost see him now, propped up in his couch, unrolling scroll after scroll of his favorite literature, and enjoying it mightily, too, which enjoyment is interrupted now and then by the occasion which the noble reader takes to mutter maledictions upon the slave who has let the lamp run low of oil or has neglected to trim the wick.
“Peregrinantur?” Indeed, they do share our peregrinations, these literary pursuits do. If Thomas Hearne (of blessed memory!) were alive to-day he would tell us that he used always to take a book along with him whenever he went walking, and was wont to read it as he strolled along. The Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac PDF Book Download
On several occasions (as he tells us in his diary) he became so absorbed in his reading that he missed his way and darkness came upon him before he knew it. I have always wondered why book-lovers have not had more to say of Hearne, for assuredly he was as glorious a collector as ever felt the divine fire glow within him.
His character is exemplified in this prayer, which is preserved among other papers of his in the Bodleian Library: “O most gracious and merciful Lord God, wonderful is Thy providence. I return all possible thanks to Thee for the care Thou hast always taken of me. I continually meet with most signal instances of this Thy providence, and one act yesterday, when I unexpectedly met with three old MSS.
For which, in a particular manner, I return my thanks, beseeching Thee to continue the same protection to me, a poor, helpless sinner,” etc. I mentioned this circumstance to Judge Methuen, and it seemed to please him. “My friend,” said he, “you have a particularly sensitive soul; I beg of you to exercise the greatest prudence in your treatment of it. The Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac PDF Book Download
It is the best type of the bibliomaniac soul, for the quickness of its apprehensions betokens that it is alert and keen and capable of instantaneous impressions and enthusiasms. What you have just told me convinces me that you are by nature qualified for rare exploits in the science and art of book-collecting.
You will presently become bald—perhaps as bald as Thomas Hobbes was—for a vigilant and active soul invariably compels baldness, so close are the relations between the soul and the brain, and so destructive are the growth and operations of the soul to those vestigial features which humanity has inherited from those grosser animals, our prehistoric ancestors.”
You see by this that Judge Methuen recognized baldness as prima-facie evidence of intellectuality and spirituality. He has collected much literature upon the subject, and has promised the Academy of Science to prepare and read for the instruction of that learned body an essay demonstrating that absence of hair from the cranium (particularly from the superior regions of the frontal and parietal divisions. The Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac PDF Book Download
Proves a departure from the instincts and practices of brute humanity, and indicates surely the growth of the understanding. It occurred to the Judge long ago to prepare a list of the names of the famous bald men in the history of human society, and this list has grown until it includes the names of thousands, representing every profession and vocation.
Homer, Socrates, Confucius, Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, Pliny, Maecenas, Julius Caesar, Horace, Shakespeare, Bacon, Napoleon Bonaparte, Dante, Pope, Cowper, Goldsmith, Wordsworth, Israel Putnam, John Quincy Adams, Patrick Henry—these geniuses all were bald. But the baldest of all was the philosopher Hobbes.
Of whom the revered John Aubrey has recorded that “he was very bald, yet within dore he used to study and sitt bare-headed, and said he never took cold in his head, but that the greatest trouble was to keepe off the flies from pitching on the baldness.” In all the portraits and pictures of Bonaparte which I have seen. The Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac PDF Book Download
A conspicuous feature is that curl or lock of hair which depends upon the emperor’s forehead, and gives to the face a pleasant degree of picturesque distinction. Yet this was a vanity, and really a laughable one; for early in life Bonaparte began to get bald, and this so troubled him that he sought to overcome the change it made in his appearance by growing.
A long strand of hair upon his occiput and bringing it forward a goodly distance in such artful wise that it right ingeniously served the purposes of that Hyperion curl which had been the pride of his youth, but which had fallen early before the ravages of time. Still I find it hard to inveigh against kings when I recall the goodness of Alexander to Aristotle, for without Alexander we should hardly have known of Aristotle.
His royal patron provided the philosopher with every advantage for the acquisition of learning, dispatching couriers to all parts of the earth to gather books and manuscripts and every variety of curious thing likely to swell the store of Aristotle’s knowledge. Yet set them up in a line and survey them—these wearers of crowns and these wielders of scepters. The Love Affairs Of A Bibliomaniac PDF Book Free
And how pitiable are they in the paucity and vanity of their accomplishments! What knew they of the true happiness of human life? They and their courtiers are dust and forgotten. Judge Methuen and I shall in due time pass away, but our courtiers—they who have ever contributed to our delight and solace—our Horace, our Cervantes, our Shakespeare, and the rest of the innumerable train—these shall never die.