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ROUND AND ABOUT THE

BOOK-STALLS.

CHAPTER I.

MONEY AND BOOKS.

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HE true book-hunter considers himself a discoverer rather than a purchaser, and it is the essence of his skill to find value in those things which in the eye of the ordinary possessor are really worthless. There are obviously many descriptions of book-hunters, for some few at least rely on the depth of their purse rather than on the height of their discretion; others regard their books as so many handsome pieces of furniture, arranged for ornament rather than use; others, again, rejoice in a bargain for the mere love of gain, and trouble themselves not so

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much with the contents of their books as with speculations on their probable worth and the chance of their increasing in value as time goes on. As the angler whose patience is fortified with the thoughts of the pecuniary value of his catch, is regarded by his brother Waltonians— that is to say, with derision and contempt-so is the hungry book-hunter who buys to sell again at a profit, and whose whole soul is absorbed in the contemplation of prospective gain.

Let it not be supposed, therefore, that although it is the province of the true book-hunter to find value in those things which in the eye of the ordinary possessor are really worthless, his ambition is grovelling or his hopes mercenary; on the contrary, the "value" of a book to him lies in the nature of the contents, or perhaps in its history or in that of the man who wrote it, or in the special circumstances which give it an importance and a place upon his shelves.

Don Vincente, a priest of Barcelona, outbidden in a competition for a rare volume, strangled the purchaser in his own house, and by adding arson to murder and theft concealed the crime for many months. At last he was detected with the missing volume in his possession, and when the Crown advanced as a proof of his guilt the argument that the book was unique-as indeed it was believed to be-his counsel showed that

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