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The Haunted Bookshop Christopher Morley

Titania Tries Reading in Bed

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It was ten o'clock on Sunday morning when he awoke. A broad swath of sunlight cut the room in half: the white muslin curtain at the window rippled outward like a flag. Aubrey exclaimed when he saw his watch. He had a sudden feeling of having been false to his trust. What had been happening across the way?

He gazed out at the bookshop. Gissing Street was bright and demure in the crisp quietness of the forenoon. Mifflin's house showed no sign of life. It was as he had last seen it, save that broad green shades had been drawn down inside the big front windows, making it impossible to look through into the book-filled alcoves.

Aubrey put on his overcoat in lieu of a dressing gown, and went in search of a bathtub. He found the bathroom on his floor locked, with sounds of leisurely splashing within. "Damn Mrs. J. F. Smith," he said. He was about to descend to the storey below, bashfully conscious of bare feet and pyjamaed shins, but looking over the banisters he saw Mrs. Schiller and the treasure-dog engaged in some household manoeuvres. The pug caught sight of his pyjama legs and began to yap. Aubrey retreated in the irritation of a man baulked of a cold tub. He shaved and dressed rapidly.

On his way downstairs he met Mrs. Schiller. He thought that her gaze was disapproving.

"A gentleman called to see you last night, sir," she said. "He said he was very sorry to miss you."

"I was rather late in getting in," said Aubrey. "Did he leave his name?"

"No, he said he'd see you some other time. He woke the whole house up by falling downstairs," she added sourly.

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

He left the lodging house swiftly, fearing to be seen from the bookshop. He was very eager to learn if everything was all right, but he did not want the Mifflins to know he was lodging just opposite. Hastening diagonally across the street, he found that the Milwaukee Lunch, where he had eaten the night before, was open. He went in and had breakfast, rejoicing in grapefruit, ham and eggs, coffee, and doughnuts. He lit a pipe and sat by the window wondering what to do next. "It's damned perplexing," he said to himself. "I stand to lose either way. If I don't do anything, something may happen to the girl; if I butt in too soon I'll get in dutch with her. I wish I knew what Weintraub and that chef are up to."

The lunchroom was practically empty, and in two chairs near him the proprietor and his assistant were sitting talking. Aubrey was suddenly struck by what they said.

"Say, this here, now, bookseller guy must have struck it rich."

"Who, Mifflin?"

"Yeh; did ya see that car in front of his place this morning?"


"Believe me, some boat."

"Musta hired it, hey? Where'd he go at?"

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The Haunted Bookshop
Christopher Morley

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