Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
The Haunted Bookshop Christopher Morley

Aubrey Takes Lodgings

Page 5 of 7

Table Of Contents: The Haunted Bookshop

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

Aubrey was delighted. "This is fine," he said. "Here's a week in advance."

Mrs. Schiller was almost disconcerted by the rapidity of the transaction. She preferred to solemnize the reception of a new lodger by a little more talk--remarks about the weather, the difficulty of getting "help," the young women guests who empty tea-leaves down wash-basin pipes, and so on. All this sort of gossip, apparently aimless, has a very real purpose: it enables the defenceless landlady to size up the stranger who comes to prey upon her. She had hardly had a good look at this gentleman, nor even knew his name, and here he had paid a week's rent and was already installed.

Aubrey divined the cause of her hesitation, and gave her his business card.

"All right, Mr. Gilbert," she said. "I'll send up the girl with some clean towels and a latchkey."

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

Aubrey sat down in a rocking chair by the window, tucked the muslin curtain to one side, and looked out upon the bright channel of Gissing Street. He was full of the exhilaration that springs from any change of abode, but his romantic satisfaction in being so close to the adorable Titania was somewhat marred by a sense of absurdity, which is feared by young men more than wounds and death. He could see the lighted windows of the Haunted Bookshop quite plainly, but he could not think of any adequate excuse for going over there. And already he realized that to be near Miss Chapman was not at all the consolation he had expected it would be. He had a powerful desire to see her. He turned off the gas, lit his pipe, opened the window, and focussed the opera glasses on the door of the bookshop. It brought the place tantalizingly near. He could see the table at the front of the shop, Roger's bulletin board under the electric light, and one or two nondescript customers gleaning along the shelves. Then something bounded violently under the third button of his shirt. There she was! In the bright, prismatic little circle of the lenses he could see Titania. Heavenly creature, in her white V-necked blouse and brown skirt, there she was looking at a book. He saw her put out one arm and caught the twinkle of her wrist-watch. In the startling familiarity of the magnifying glass he could see her bright, unconscious face, the merry profile of her cheek and chin. . . . "The idea of that girl working in a second-hand bookstore!" he exclaimed. "It's positive sacrilege! Old man Chapman must be crazy."

He took out his pyjamas and threw them on the bed; put his toothbrush and razor on the wash-basin, laid hairbrushes and O. Henry on the bureau. Feeling rather serio-comic he loaded his small revolver and hipped it. It was six o'clock, and he wound his watch. He was a little uncertain what to do: whether to keep a vigil at the window with the opera glasses, or go down in the street where he could watch the bookshop more nearly. In the excitement of the adventure he had forgotten all about the cut on his scalp, and felt quite chipper. In leaving Madison Avenue he had attempted to excuse the preposterousness of his excursion by thinking that a quiet week-end in Brooklyn would give him an opportunity to jot down some tentative ideas for Daintybits advertising copy which he planned to submit to his chief on Monday. But now that he was here he felt the impossibility of attacking any such humdrum task. How could he sit down in cold blood to devise any "attention-compelling" lay-outs for Daintybits Tapioca and Chapman's Cherished Saratoga Chips, when the daintiest bit of all was only a few yards away? For the first time was made plain to him the amazing power of young women to interfere with the legitimate commerce of the world. He did get so far as to take out his pad of writing paper and jot down

Page 5 of 7 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
The Haunted Bookshop
Christopher Morley

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004