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The Haunted Bookshop Christopher Morley

Roger Raids the Ice-Box

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"I had no idea anything could be so good," said Titania. "Of course, Daddy makes condensed milk in one of his factories, but I never dreamed of trying it. I thought it was only used by explorers, people at the North Pole, you know."

"How stupid of me!" exclaimed Roger. "I quite forgot to tell you! Your father called up just after you had gone out this evening, and wanted to know how you were getting on."

"Oh, dear," said Titania. "He must have been delighted to hear I was at the movies, on the second day of my first job! He probably said it was just like me."

"I explained that I had insisted on your going with Mrs. Mifflin, because I felt she needed the change."

"I do hope," said Titania, "you won't let Daddy poison your mind about me. He thinks I'm dreadfully frivolous, just because I LOOK frivolous. But I'm so keen to make good in this job. I've been practicing doing up parcels all afternoon, so as to learn how to tie the string nicely and not cut it until after the knot's tied. I found that when you cut it beforehand either you get it too short and it won't go round, or else too long and you waste some. Also I've learned how to make wrapping paper cuffs to keep my sleeves clean."

"Well, I haven't finished yet," continued Roger. "Your father wants us all to spend to-morrow out at your home. He wants to show us some books he has just bought, and besides he thinks maybe you're feeling homesick."

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"What, with all these lovely books to read? Nonsense! I don't want to go home for six months!"

"He wouldn't take No for an answer. He's going to send Edwards round with the car the first thing tomorrow morning."

"What fun!" said Helen. "It'll be delightful."

"Goodness," said Titania. "Imagine leaving this adorable bookshop to spend Sunday in Larchmont.

Well, I'll be able to get that georgette blouse I forgot."

"What time will the car be here?" asked Helen.

"Mr. Chapman said about nine o'clock. He begs us to get out there as early as possible, as he wants to spend the day showing us his books."

As they sat round the fading bed of coals, Roger began hunting along his private shelves. "Have you ever read any Gissing?" he said.

Titania made a pathetic gesture to Mrs. Mifflin. "It's awfully embarrassing to be asked these things! No, I never heard of him."

"Well, as the street we live on is named after him, I think you ought to," he said. He pulled down his copy of The House of Cobwebs. "I'm going to read you one of the most delightful short stories I know. It's called `A Charming Family.'"

"No, Roger," said Mrs. Mifflin firmly. "Not to-night. It's eleven o'clock, and I can see Titania's tired. Even Bock has left us and gone in to his kennel. He's got more sense than you have."

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The Haunted Bookshop
Christopher Morley

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