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more respect was paid to the "Thrift " | and the "Life of Napoleon" owing to the gaudy coloring, but yet Gibbs became the possessor of them for a few shillings, uncut, spotless copies as they were. Then they had to work along the last bottom shelf, but here, as the books were mostly folios and quartos and fat to boot, they were got quickly through. Gibbs let go Penn's "Quakers," for he could read the title, and a Latin dictionary, and some old theological works. When the quarto on which his eyes had been glued so long was reached, his heart was beating so he felt afraid his neighbors would hear it. "Love's Labor Lost," slowly spelt out the auctioneer, a comedy by William Shakespeare; a most"— he was at a loss for a suitable adjective, and fell back on the old one "a most elegant work-by William Shakespeare."
Then there was a pause and a hush. Perhaps the people were tired; the excitement of the sale was over, -for them. But to one man present there it almost seemed as if the quiet which fell for a little while over the crowd in that shabby room was due to something more than this, was in some way an act of homage paid unconsciously and involuntarily to the greatest of all the sons of men. It seemed a profanation to offer for that book the fraction of a shilling or a pound. It was the last, and, before the merchant could get out his offer, Gibbs made his own and electrified the room. "Five pounds!" he cried out in so loud a voice that his next neighbor -a meek old woman in a mutch jumped as if a snake had bitten her. Some question as to the perfect sanity of the fisherman had found place in the minds of the wiser and more experienced people in the room as they listened to his rash offers, and thought of the perfect impossibility of any one wanting to have so many books all at the same time. But all doubts were now dispelled, and three good-looking girls who had edged close to Gibbs to have a quiet examinaup tion of him now shrunk away in obvious alarm. The moon-faced auctioneer was visibly affected - during his long experience he had never seen a book sold for the fifth part of such a price. And what sort of a man was this to offer it when, if he had waited half a minute longer, he would have secured what he wanted for a couple of shillings? But Gibbs cared for nothing of this now they might call him and think him what they pleased - and he pushed up to the table and claimed the precious volume. He soon set the auc
tioneer's mind at rest, "I will wait," he said, "till you make out my account." Then he stood there - perhaps at that moment the happiest of all mankind.
"I should like to have had that fine volume of Shakespeare for my daughters," said the auctioneer, as he handed Gibbs the receipt, "but you are such a determined bidder there is no standing against you. A London gentleman, I presume might you be from London ?"
You are welcome to the Shakespeare," replied Gibbs, ignoring the question. is
an elegant volume. And it is a family edition, which adds to its value. You may safely trust it to your daughters." Profuse were the happy father's thanks for the gracious present.
An old lady had in the earlier part of the day purchased a large and substantial box for eighteenpence; Gibbs now hunted her out and offered her a sovereign for it. The old person was flustered almost out of her life at such a premium, and it evidently aroused some suspicion in her mind that the stranger might know more about its value than she did. It was not until she had examined every corner of it many times over, and taken counsel with all the friends and relations she could get hold of, that she consented to part with it- even then following it up-stairs for one more search for possibly hidden gold. Into this box Gibbs put first his prizes, and then the most respectable part of the remainder of his library. But the Annual Registers and the Miscellanies and the green-backed works by Mrs. Sherwood he strewed recklessly about the room, and astonished the people who from time to time cautiously came in to have a look at him, by telling them that they could take what they liked away. With a wary eye on the donor the books were removed, and many a happy home in that remote district is even now indebted to his generosity for the solid collection of works which adorn its humble shelves. If the constant perusal of "L'Industrie Françoise," the "Géographie Ancienne Abrégée," the "Grammaire Espagnole Raisonné," or the "Histoire de Henri le Grand," have in any way soothed the sorrows, lightened the labors, and improved the morals of the crofters in this part of the north of Scotland the praise and the reward is due to John Gibbs the fisherman, and to no one else. If, as the old story-books say, the books have never been removed, there they are still.
Then the two men started on their way home. We said just now that Gibbs was perhaps for a short time the happiest man
in the world; in making that remark we did not take into consideration Archie's feelings. He had bought a flaming yellowred mahogany horse-hair sofa, three chairs, a clock-case, and an umbrella-stand, and above all a bed, -a real old-fashioned, seven feet by five-and-a-half erection, with a sort of pagoda on the top. That he had only a "but and ben," with stone and mud floors, twelve by fourteen feet each, and a door leading to them little more than two feet wide, had not yet caused him any anxiety. But we believe that before that seven-foot bedstead was got through that two-foot door the good-looking young woman, to whom half of it might be said to belong, expressed her opinion of his judgment in a way which made him shake in his shoes, strong and able man as he
When Gibbs reached the inn with his precious cargo he came in for the end of what had evidently been a serious disturbance. The landlord was undergoing with what patience he might the angry reproaches of a little old man, who with uplifted finger emphasized every word he uttered. The stranger had his back to the doorway, as had also his companion, a tall lady in a grey tweed dress.
"It's most provoking and annoying," cried the old man. "I took particular care to write the name of your infernal place plainly! I believe you got the letter!"
"I got no letter," replied the landlord, 66 or I should have sent the machine."
see who was appealed to. The man had a little red, angry face and a long beard, you will see fifty like him in any town in a day's walk. His companion would have attracted some attention anywhere; Gibbs got to know her face pretty well in the course of time, but though he felt it was what is called a striking one he never knew exactly why. He would have said that her hair was neither dark nor light, that her eyes were grey, her mouth and nose both perhaps rather large, and that she had full red lips- a commonplace description enough which would answer perhaps for three or four out of every dozen girls you meet. She was very tall she stood a head and shoulders over her companion - and her figure, though it would have been large for a smaller woman, was in just proportion to her height. She put her hand on the old man's arm, as if to check his impetuosity, and threw oil on the troubled waters as it is befitting a woman should do.
"It is really of little consequence," she said, "though it was provoking at the time. We only wished to have got some remembrance of an old friend. I have
no doubt that there was some mistake at the post-office. Come!" and with a pretty air of authority she led the old grumbler into the sitting-room.
Gibbs was by no means what is called a classical scholar. He had wasted - so it seemed to him-a good many years of his life in turning Shakespeare and Milton into very inferior Greek and Latin verse, and since he left Oxford had never opened a book connected with either of the lan
"But you should have got it!" cried the old man furiously, "and I'll find out who is responsible! It's scandalous!-guages-unless it was to see who the it's "he stuttered with rage at a loss for a word.
printer was. But he had a misty recollection of some passage which described how a mortal woman walked like a goddess, and he thought that then for the first time he understood what the old writer meant, he knew then for the first time how a goddess moved.
If a traveller had passed by that lonely inn at midnight, he would have seen a bright light burning in one of its windows. And if he had returned two, or three, or even four hours later, he would have seen it still burning, shining out like a beacon over the wild moors. The salmon-fisher had forgotten his craft, the politician his newspaper, the admirer of goddesses that such creatures ever existed upon the earth. It was very late, or early, before Gibbs had finished his investigations and retired to his bed, and then his sleep was not a pleasant or a restful one. Unless it is pleasant to have hundreds of other peo
ple's poor relations standing in endless ranks, holding out thin and empty hands for help; unless it is restful to have to drive a huge wheelbarrow along in front of them, heavy at the commencement of the journey with first editions, uncut, of the quartos, but gradually growing lighter and lighter as they one by one slipped down the pile, and fell off on to the muddy roadway.
Two parties cannot be long together in a small country inn without getting to some extent to know each other. Gibbs began by the little services which a man can always render to a lady, opening doors, lending newspapers, and so forth. A dog, too, often acts as a sort of introduction to two people who are fond of that animal; and the fisherman was the possessor of a small, short-legged, crust-colored, hairy creature, answering to the name of Growley, which soon twined itself round the lady's heart, as it did round all with whom it came in contact.
The travellers' name was Prendergast. They had evidently not intended to make a stay in Ross-shire, having brought little with them, but in a few days a considerable addition to their baggage arrived. The old man seemed to be something of naturalist. He wandered about the moors with a green tin-box kind of knapsack on his back, but he said little about his captures, and Gibbs taking no interest in such pursuits never asked leave to see what was in it. He also wrote a good deal. The daughter, who rejoiced in the quaint and uncommon name of Samela, spent most of her time sketching; whenever it was fine she was out of doors, and even pretty damp weather did not discourage her if she was in the humor. Clad in a short, grey, homespun dress, shod with strong but shapely boots, with an immense umbrella over her head, she was able to defy the elements if they were not very unpropitious. She met Gibbs's little civilities frankly and pleasantly, but never seemed. to look for them; he rarely saw her when he was on the river, and, when they did by chance meet, a nod and a smile were often all that were vouchsafed to him. Gibbs was perhaps a sufficiently susceptible young man, but just now fishing was his object, and he had no leisure for flirting even if he had found any one willing to meet him half-way. But still at spare times he caught himself thinking about the lady more than he did about her father or the innkeeper, or any one else
about the place. At lunch-time, and when smoking his evening pipe, sometimes even when changing a fly to give a pool another cast over, her fair image rose up before him. Dinner had hitherto been a somewhat comfortless meal, hastily consumed, with one eye on the Scotsman and the other on a mutton chop. But now he was sure of meeting one pleasant face at any rate, and he enjoyed relating his adventures on the river, and looking at Miss Samela's sketches afterwards. Her father was no acquisition to the party; he was generally in a bad temper, and he seemed for some reason to have taken a dislike to Gibbs. An old man with a good-looking daughter is sure of attention and politeness on the part of a young man, but in this case the civilities seemed thrown away there was little friendly response. Still Samela was always pleas ant, and so Gibbs minded the less the somewhat brusque behavior of the old collector of curiosities.
One afternoon the former, who had been fishing near the inn, went in there to get something he wanted, and on his way back overtook Samela, sauntering along with a large sketching-block under her arm.
"Will you come and draw a fight with a salmon, Miss Prendergast?" he asked. "There are a lot of fish up to-day, and I think I'm sure to get hold of one pretty quickly. I'm not a very elegant figure, he added, laughing as he looked at his waders; "but Archie is very smart, and, at any rate, you will have a good background in the rocks on the other side."
Miss Prendergast said she was quite willing, and they went down to the pool. As a rule, when a lady comes near a salmon river and you want to show off your skill before her the fish sulk, and Gibbs was a rash man to give the undertaking he did. But fortune had hitherto been wonderfully kind to him, and did not desert him now. He had barely gone over half the water before up came a good fish and took him. For the next ten minutes he was kept pretty busy. The fish was a strong one and showed plenty of fight; but it was at last gaffed and laid on the bank, and the lady came down from the rock she had settled on to inspect it. She did not say, "Oh! how cruel to stick that horrid thing into it!" or, "How could you kill such a beautiful creature?" or "I wish it had got away!" as some ladies would have done. On the contrary, she gave the salmon a bright twelve-pounder little poke with her foot, and said she was very glad it had been captured. Then
good order - quite his own master. Business must be attended to before pleasure here as elsewhere. A start has to be made as soon after nine as possible, and if nothing untoward occurs, a certain pool should be reached at two for lunch. A rest of an hour is allowed here, but the angler would have good reason to be dissatisfied with himself if he did not devote the time between three and seven to steady fishing. This would take Gibbs to
'Well," said Gibbs, staring at it, "I the end of his beat, and so far up it as to think it is lovely."
Its author looked at it with her head on one side, as ladies often do look at their handiwork, and promised that when it was finished she would give it to him. Then she wrote down" dun for the waders, and " grey "for the rocks, and "dark" where the water ran under the cliff, and a little "red" just in a line with the admiring Archie's nose, and went back to the inn. Gibbs fished out the afternoon, but he thought more about the lady and less about the fish than he had done yet. He pondered a good deal, too, about the sketch, and racked his brains to think if there was any way in which he could make a nice return to Samela for it. She had declined to have anything to do with the fish, which he had at once offered to her, saying there was no one she particularly wished to send it to, or she might have been squared in that way. He might give her a book, he remembered her saying, the first day they met, that she and her father had come up for the sale to get some remembrance of an old friend. Gibbs was pleased at this idea until he be thought him what book he should give her, and then he was puzzled. Of course, as a mere remembrance, Josephus, or "The Fairchild Family," or even a volume of the Encyclopædia Britannica would do as well as another; but then there would not be much generosity in handing one of those works over. Plainly the lady must be asked to choose for herself. Then Gibbs at once resolved that the quarto should be eliminated from the collection - the sketch would be purchased too dearly by its loss. As to any others, they
be back near the inn in time to change before dinner. But he was getting into a somewhat restless state a little impatient of all such salutary regulations and one fine day instead of beginning a mile above the inn he began opposite itto Archie's great disapproval - and so timed himself as to be back there soon after four o'clock. He knew that Samela would be thereabouts-she had told him that it would take her a day to finish her sketch.
"Miss Prendergast," said Gibbs rather shyly, feeling as if his little manœuvre was probably being seen through, "you said the night you came up that you wanted to have some little thing from the Strathamat sale, and I thought, perhaps, you would like a book. I got a good many books there, and any that you would care to have you are most welcome to." There was something of a conventional falsehood in this statement; there were a good many books he would have been very sorry to see her walk off with.
Samela looked up in his face, and Gibbs was quite sure she was beautiful; Venus was her prototype after all, and not Juno; he had been a little puzzled as to which deity favored her the most. "It is very good of you," she said, more warmly than she had spoken yet. "I should like to have something.' "It was horrid of me not to have thought of it sooner," said Gibbs. "Well now, will you come and choose for yourself? And may I tell them to take some tea into my room? I am sure you must want some after your long day here." This second invitation was quite an after-thought, given on the spur take their chance. On second of the moment, and he hardly thought it thoughts, however, he concluded to con- would be accepted. He was on the point ceal the works of Grimm-all the rest of including her father in it when the lady were to run the gauntlet of her pretty fortunately stopped him, and said she eyes. thought she would also like some tea. A day or two passed before he was able" But may I stop ten minutes to finish this to put his little scheme into execution. bit while the light is on it? Then I will It will easily be understood as has al- come in." ready been hinted that a man on a salmon river is not when the water is in
Gibbs went in and ordered the tea, and then opened his old box and took out the
quarto which he embedded for the time | said, and she gave it to him. It was a being in his portmanteau; he had previ- most masterly work in grey and yellow ously removed it from the old cover in and brown, Archie's nose supplying just order to keep it flatter in the box. It was the little bit of warm color that was wanta hard struggle for him to leave the ing. “I think you have been a little hard Grimms, but at last he tore himself away on my waist," said Gibbs after he had from them. The maid brought up the sufficiently admired it. "And now will tea-things, and then, peeping out of the you please put your name to it; some day window, he saw the tall form of his visitor when you are a great artist I shall be endisappearing through at the front door. vied for having it. He had a few seconds to spare, and he occupied them (we are sorry to say), in rushing at his box, tearing out the Grimms, and slipping one into each coat pocket. He had barely time to get to the fireplace, looking as self-possessed, or rather as little self-conscious as he could, when Samela came in. She made herself quite comfortable in an armchair by the fire, and she appeared as unself-conscious and innocent as a lady could be as no doubt she was. There were three cups on the tea-table, and this caused a little further embarrass
ment to the host. “Your father—would
So there was no more to be said, and Gibbs did the honors as gracefully as a man in wading-stockings could be expected to do them, but some little part of his usual complacency was destroyed by an uneasy feeling that while he was so employed Samela's eyes were fixed on the side-pockets of his coat where the books were deposited, which he was persuaded bulged out shockingly. In the course of time he found himself sitting in another easy-chair, on the other side of the fire, opposite Samela—just as a young husband might be supposed to sit opposite a young wife in, say, the third week of the honeymoon. Gibbs began to feel as if he was married, and, what with this sensation and the knowledge of his bit of deceit, somewhat uncomfortable, — for a moment or two he almost wished that the old professor would make his appearance.
Samela had never looked so bright and fresh and comely as she did that afternoon. There was just something in her position which would have made some girls feel the least bit embarrassed; they would have shown their feelings by little have laughed or talked too much; after all she was only the chance acquaintance of a few days. But she sat there perfectly at ease, absolutely mistress of herself.
"I have brought you your picture," she
She laughed at the somewhat awkward compliment, and then in bold, firm letters she wrote her signature.
"You have a very uncommon Christian name," he said. "I never saw it before. Is it one that belongs to your family?"
My father used to be very fond of the old dramatists," replied the maiden - and at the word "dramatists" the guilty Gibbs gave a little start and knocked one of the Grimms against the arm of his chair. "He found it in an out of the-way song in some old play."
"It is a very pretty name," said the criminal.
"I liked the song," said Samela; "I read it once a long time age. But I think it is not very wise to give a child names of that kind. There is so much risk in it. If I had grown up crooked or ugly my name would have been an injury to me." It was pretty, as Mr. Pepys used to say, to see how naturally she assumed her good looks. We may mention that before many days had passed Mr. Gibbs's bookseller had received an order (by telegraph) to supply him with the works of Robert Greene, out of which he hunted with some difficulty the very charming lyric the name of which stand at the head of this paper.
"And now for your books," said Gibbs, when his visitor declined to have any more tea. He showed her first a great carefully arranged pile in a corner of the sitting-room. There have been exceptions
those who collect fine bindings will at once recall some famous names—but as a rule women do not care for books as men care for them. Probably a large proportion out of the hundred would prefer if the choice was given them and a bookrest thrown in-the édition de luxe of Thackeray to a rather dingy and commonplace looking set of the original issues. Samela was one of the exceptions; she showed a quite evident, almost an eager, interest in the pile. The fashion for big volumes, for great folios and thick quartos has died out so the men who deal chiefly in such merchandise tell you; but this