Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

MY FRIEND'S LIBRARY.

[graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors]

THINK it was Jean Paul who said he always looked on a library as a learned

conversation. But there are libraries and libraries.

H. L. told me he once found a foolish, pedantic old millionnaire curled up in a luxurious apartment, walled with richly bound books, not one of which he had ever read, but all of which he pretended to have devoured. L. says that when he entered this room, bestudded with glittering tomes, the proprietor exclaimed: “And so you have found me out at last, alone with my books! Here's where I hide away from the family, day after day, and nobody's none the

[ocr errors]

wiser !Pierce Egan has an anecdote of another “literary character,” which I quote in this connection without comment.

“A lady, resident in Devonshire, going into one of her parlors, discovered a young ass, who had found his way into the room, and carefully closed the door upon himself. He had evidently not been long in this situation before he had nibbled a part of Cicero's Orations, and eaten nearly all the index of a folio edition of Seneca in Latin, a large part of a volume of La Bruyère's Maxims' in French, and several pages of 'Cecilia. He had done no other mischief whatever."

The library of old Sir John Danvers, as described by Bernard, must have been a curiosity. It abounded with the best works of the best authors, but there was not one perfect volume in it. So eager had been Sir John in his pursuit of knowledge, says Bernard, that he had inspected every book in his collection; and wherever a passage pleased him, he tore out the leaf and thrust it into his pocket !

That was a clever remark of an English essayist who told us so many years ago that he had such a reverence for the wisdom folded up on his library shelves that he considered the very perusal of the backs of his books “a discipline of humanity.”

There are some household libraries which once visited can never be forgotten. R. W. has one, "filled to overflowing with delights.” You cannot move about it anywhere and not be enchanted. There is scarcely an edition of any literary work worth owning that cannot be discovered on his shelves, and if you have a year at your disposal it is none too long to spend in that “house of fame.” Di's collection is a rare one, but he will insist on telling you the cost of every set of books in his possession, and thus exasperate you with financial values when you only wish for literary estimates. What do I care how much he paid "in gold” for the bindings of his various Shakespeares? It is the “inspired leaves” are after, and not the gilded glories on the outside! Arrian tells us the Greeks thought it a calamity to die without having seen the Olym

we

« AnteriorContinuar »