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BOOK CLUBS Book-collecting is undeniably one of the most engaging pursuits in which a refined and artistic taste may be indulged. From the earliest times, and even before the days of printing, this pleasant diversion has been pursued by persons of moderate means as well as by those of wealth and distinction, and every succeeding generation of book-collectors has exceeded its predecessors in numbers and in enthusiasm. The alluring influences of... more...

PREFACE There is a peculiar charm about the relics found in an old home—a home from which many generations of fledglings have flown. As each milestone in family history is passed some once common object of use or ornament is dropped by the way. Such interesting mementoes of past generations accumulate, and in course of time the older ones become curios. It is to create greater interest in these old-world odds and ends—some of... more...

PREFACE.   It will be generally allowed that a handy guide to the formation of libraries is required, but it may be that the difficulty of doing justice to so large a subject has prevented those who felt the want from attempting to fill it. I hope therefore that it will not be considered that I have shown temerity by stepping into the vacant place. I cannot hope to have done full justice to so important a theme in the small space at my... more...

CHAPTER I THE AIM At the beginning a misconception must be removed from the path. Many people, if not most, look on literary taste as an elegant accomplishment, by acquiring which they will complete themselves, and make themselves finally fit as members of a correct society. They are secretly ashamed of their ignorance of literature, in the same way as they would be ashamed of their ignorance of etiquette at a high entertainment, or of their... more...

In the old age of his intellect (which at this point seemed to taste a little of decrepitude), Strauss declared that the doctrine of immortality has recently lost the assistance of a passable argument, inasmuch as it has been discovered that the stars are inhabited; for where, he asks, could room now be found for such a multitude of souls? Again, in view of the current estimates of prospective population for this earth, some people have begun to... more...


Agesilaus, king of Sparta, being asked what things he thought most proper for boys to learn, replied: "Those things which they should practice when they become men." His reply was in perfect harmony with the good judgment of mankind, and cannot fail to be appreciated by all who have good common sense. If Agesilaus lived at the present time, the question would most probably have included both boys and girls, and undoubtedly his reply would be so... more...

I. As a Pastime.   ccording to the authorities, the central idea of a pastime is "that it is so positively agreeable that it lets time slip by unnoticed; as, to turn work into pastime." And recreation is described as "that sort of play or agreeable occupation which refreshes the tired person, making him as good as new." Stamp collectors may fairly claim that their hobby serves the double purpose of a pastime and a recreation. As a... more...

ABERDEEN. Parentage—Patons—Grandholm—Jersey—"Peninsular War"—School and schoolmasters—Flogging—College—Competition for bursaries—Home life—Aunt and grand-aunt—Holiday rambles—Letter. John Hill Burton, the subject of this notice, was born on the 22d of August 1809, in the Gallowgate of Aberdeen. He was wont to style himself, as in his childhood he had heard himself... more...

CHAPTER I ADVENTURES AMONG BOOKS 'Thou shalt make castels thanne in Spayne.' Chaucer.     t is a sad truth that bargains are met with more frequently in our youth than in our age. The sophist may argue that age begets philosophy, and that philosophy contemns all worldly things; yet certain it is that the book-hunter, one of the most philosophical of beings, remains on the look-out for bargains to the very end of his career.... more...

The determination to found a story or a series of sketches on the delights, adventures, and misadventures connected with bibliomania did not come impulsively to my brother. For many years, in short during the greater part of nearly a quarter of a century of journalistic work, he had celebrated in prose and verse, and always in his happiest and most delightful vein, the pleasures of book-hunting. Himself an indefatigable collector of books, the... more...