BLTC Press Titles

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The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner


by Grace Louise Smith Richmond





HEN on one blustering afternoon in late March Professor Mark Fenn came into the dingy old college book-shop which was one of his favourite haunts, he passed by the magazine stand in a hurry, though it was thick with all the newest April publications and vivid with their colour. His mind was upon a certain row of bookshelves in the dimmest part of the back of the shop, where he had yesterday discovered rich treasure. Almost an hour later, when he had decided, rather against his judgment but wholly according to his inclination, to purchase the full tale of seven books which he needed to complete a special group in his collection, he passed the magazine stand again, and this time he halted. He had caught sight of the name of Mary Fletcher, emblazoned in large letters upon the cover of The Centrepiece.

He put down his book and picked up the magazine, frowning a little. Why should Mary be writing for The Centrepiece? He ran hastily through the pages—he didn't have to go far, for the story he sought was well toward the front, as Mary Fletcher's things always were. He glanced at the opening lines—yes—there it was—the delightful, sparkling style which flashed at you from the cold print with the first distinctive paragraph. There were the exquisite illustrations—her editors never gave Mary anything but the best, these days.

Mark Fenn fished a dingy quarter from his pocket, waved it at Booth, the old bookseller—just now occupied with another customer—and placed it on the magazine stand. He folded the bulky Centrepiece in the middle and stuffed it into his overcoat pocket, picked up his package of books, and left the shop.

When Harriet Fenn came down the street from the High School where she held a teaching position, toward the little old brown house where she and her brother lived together, she saw the light in his study window which proclaimed that he had reached home before her. At this time of year she was quite sure to see that cheerful light shining from the two lower front windows, the shades undrawn—Mark never in the world thought of shutting out the passers-by, though the house lay so close to the street. Although Harriet's first move when she came in was to go and twitch the shabby old dark-red curtains together, jealous of intrusion, she was always glad Mark hadn't done it before her. That welcoming light made all the difference to a weary school-teacher, the presence of whose one brother in the old house kept it home for her, as she was sure her presence did for him.

Mark didn't hear her come in—he seldom did. She liked to let herself in quietly and steal to the door of the square, low-ceiled study, its walls lined from floor to ceiling with books, in all sorts of bookcases. From year to year Mark had extended his ever growing collection, more eager as to the contents of the shelves than as to the beauty or uniformity of the shelves themselves. Yet the result was not inharmonious; somehow one forgot the motley character of the containers in wonder and pleasure at the wealth of the collection itself. Not that there were many fine bindings—though here and there one shone out richly; but there were rows upon rows of those volumes in sober dress which speak of serious uses, and which must make the backbone of any worthy library.

The Professor of Psychology at Newcomb College had not thrown himself, as usual, into the dingy old study armchair which he was wont to seek when he first came in after the labours of the day. Neither had he taken the spindlebacked chair which served him at his desk—it had been his father's before him. He was sitting on the edge of his desk, hat shoved back, overcoat still on, his legs braced to hold him steady, while he read with absorption from a popular magazine.

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