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

Roger Raids the Ice-Box

Page 3 of 4

Table Of Contents: The Haunted Bookshop

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

"All right," said the bookseller amiably. "Miss Chapman, you take the book up with you and read it in bed if you want to. Are you a librocubicularist?"

Titania looked a little scandalized.

"It's all right, my dear," said Helen. "He only means are you fond of reading in bed. I've been waiting to hear him work that word into the conversation. He made it up, and he's immensely proud of it."

"Reading in bed?" said Titania. "What a quaint idea! Does any one do it? It never occurred to me. I'm sure when I go to bed I'm far too sleepy to think of such a thing."

"Run along then, both of you," said Roger. "Get your beauty sleep. I shan't be very late."

He meant it when he said it, but returning to his desk at the back of the shop his eye fell upon his private shelf of books which he kept there "to rectify perturbations" as Burton puts it. On this shelf there stood Pilgrim's Progress, Shakespeare, The Anatomy of Melancholy, The Home Book of Verse, George Herbert's Poems, The Notebooks of Samuel Butler, and Leaves of Grass. He took down The Anatomy of Melancholy, that most delightful of all books for midnight browsing. Turning to one of his favourite passages--"A Consolatory Digression, Containing the Remedies of All Manner of Discontents"--he was happily lost to all ticking of the clock, retaining only such bodily consciousness as was needful to dump, fill, and relight his pipe from time to time. Solitude is a dear jewel for men whose days are spent in the tedious this-and-that of trade. Roger was a glutton for his midnight musings. To such tried companions as Robert Burton and George Herbert he was wont to exonerate his spirit. It used to amuse him to think of Burton, the lonely Oxford scholar, writing that vast book to "rectify" his own melancholy.

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

By and by, turning over the musty old pages, he came to the following, on Sleep--

The fittest time is two or three hours after supper, whenas the meat is now settled at the bottom of the stomach, and 'tis good to lie on the right side first, because at that site the liver doth rest under the stomach, not molesting any way, but heating him as a fire doth a kettle, that is put to it. After the first sleep 'tis not amiss to lie on the left side, that the meat may the better descend, and sometimes again on the belly, but never on the back. Seven or eight hours is a competent time for a melancholy man to rest----

In that case, thought Roger, it's time for me to be turning in. He looked at his watch, and found it was half-past twelve. He switched off his light and went back to the kitchen quarters to tend the furnace.

I hesitate to touch upon a topic of domestic bitterness, but candor compels me to say that Roger's evening vigils invariably ended at the ice-box. There are two theories as to this subject of ice-box plundering, one of the husband and the other of the wife. Husbands are prone to think (in their simplicity) that if they take a little of everything palatable they find in the refrigerator, but thus distributing their forage over the viands the general effect of the depradation will be almost unnoticeable. Whereas wives say (and Mrs. Mifflin had often explained to Roger) that it is far better to take all of any one dish than a little of each; for the latter course is likely to diminish each item below the bulk at which it is still useful as a left-over. Roger, however, had the obstinate viciousness of all good husbands, and he knew the delights of cold provender by heart. Many a stewed prune, many a mess of string beans or naked cold boiled potato, many a chicken leg, half apple pie, or sector of rice pudding, had perished in these midnight festivals. He made it a point of honour never to eat quite all of the dish in question, but would pass with unabated zest from one to another. This habit he had sternly repressed during the war, but Mrs. Mifflin had noticed that since the armistice he had resumed it with hearty violence. This is a custom which causes the housewife to be confronted the next morning with a tragical vista of pathetic scraps. Two slices of beet in a little earthenware cup, a sliver of apple pie one inch wide, three prunes lowly nestling in a mere trickle of their own syrup, and a tablespoonful of stewed rhubarb where had been one of those yellow basins nearly full--what can the most resourceful kitcheneer do with these oddments? This atrocious practice cannot be too bitterly condemned.

Page 3 of 4 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