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The Disappearing Volume

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"Well, Roger," she said; "if you think so much of your old Cromwell, you'd better keep it in here. Here it is." She laid the book on the table.

"For the love of Mike!" exclaimed Roger. "Who brought it back?"

"I guess it was your friend the assistant chef," said Mrs. Mifflin. "Anyway, he had a beard like a Christmas tree. He was mighty polite. He said he was terribly absent minded, and that the other day he was in here looking at some books and just walked off with it without knowing what he was doing. He offered to pay for the trouble he had caused, but of course I wouldn't let him. I asked if he wanted to see you, but he said he was in a hurry."

"I'm almost disappointed," said Roger. "I thought that I had turned up a real booklover. Here we are, all hands drink the health of Mr. Thomas Carlyle."

The toast was drunk, and they settled themselves in their chairs.

"And here's to the new employee," said Helen. This also was dispatched, Aubrey draining his glass with a zeal which did not escape Miss Chapman's discerning eye. Roger then put out his hand for the Dickens. But first he picked up his beloved Cromwell. He looked at it carefully, and then held the volume close to the light.

"The mystery's not over yet," he said. "It's been rebound. This isn't the original binding."

"Are you sure?" said Helen in surprise. "It looks the same."

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"The binding has been cleverly imitated, but it can't fool me. In the first place, there was a rubbed corner at the top; and there was an ink stain on one of the end papers."

"There's still a stain there," said Aubrey, looking over his shoulder.

"Yes, but not the same stain. I've had that book long enough to know it by heart. Now what the deuce would that lunatic want to have it rebound for?"

"Goodness gracious," said Helen, "put it away and forget about it. We'll all be dreaming about Carlyle if you're not careful."

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