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On my way up to the schoolroom, which had
formerly been known as "the clay-nursery", I decided
that the name needed further promotion. "Study"
was inappropriate and sounded elderly. "Smoking-
room" wouldn't do either, because I hadn't begun
smoking yet, although puffing my pipe by the fireside
on winter evenings was a comfortable idea. "Library",
I thought (pausing in the dark passage with a hand
on the brass door-knob), was too big a jump from
"schoolroom". Besides, there wasn't any library.
"Library" meant glass-fronted bookcases with yellow
busts of Julius Caesar and Cicero on the top. Enter-
ing the fire-lit room, I pounced on the bulky package
which Miriam had deposited on the table. "Book-
room", I thought, as I tugged impetuously at the
thick string. And "book-room" it rather tentatively

There was no doubt that I had a fondness for books
—especially old ones. But my reading was desultory
and unassimilative. Words made a muddled effect on
my mind while I was busy among them, and they
seldom caused any afterthoughts. I esteemed my
books mostly for their outsides. I admired old leather
bindings, and my fancy was tickled by the thought
of firelight flickering on dim gilt, autumn-coloured
backs—rows and rows of them, and myself in an
armchair musing on the pleasant names of Addison
and Steele, Gibbon and Goldsmith. And what
wonderful bargains were to be discovered in the
catalogues of second-hand booksellers at Birmingham!
Only last week I had acquired (for seven and six-
pence) Dr. Burnefs Rights of Princes in the Disposing of
Ecclesiastical Benefices, 1685. FIRST EDITION. Original
sheep, scarce. And there were Tillotson's Sermons,
ten imposing volumes in sage green morocco* I had