Excerpt from The Unstrung Bow: A Story of Conquest
Smith had a way of gathering up from the four quarters of the earth many rare and curious books of great antiquity and value; but he had also a way of storing them up in his private corner of the store, where they were safe from the prying eyes of the public. Fortunate indeed the novice who was permitted even to thumb through his sacred treasures. Few knew more of first editions, unexpurgated editions, or suppressed editions, or were better versed in the book-craft of the day, though he professed to hold it in contempt. To know him intimately was indeed an education in books and their makers.
N o literary altruist was Smith; yet he owned no selfish motives when he denied the public its coveted glimpse at the treasures guarded so rever ently in the famous Corner. Let them show a genuine literary affection, he was wont to say, and at once they are members of the Circle with all the privileges of its oldest members; but vul gar curiosity and intellectual vanity cannot fel low with my comrades of the Corner.
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