WHERE books are gathered together, there is built an altar to Romance. Alike over the little fireside bookcase and over the high‐piled shelves of the municipal library its spirit hovers. In some places more readily than in others, however, does the book‐lover become immediately and instinctively aware of its presence. No visitor to Edinburgh who crosses Parliament Hall—whether abuzz with talk and thronged with groups of pacing advocates, or silent save for the ghostly voices of old Scottish debate and peopled by the shades of Fletcher of Saltoun, Lord Belhaven, and Chancellor Seafield—and passes thence down the steep narrow stairway to what was once the Laigh Parliament House but is now the National Library, can long remain insensible to the appeal of the place. Are you of the company of the Stevensonians? Wait but a moment and round yonder projecting book‐case will glide the elfin‐shade of R. L. S.—from that table he will pick up a hand‐lantern with its flickering candle and, swinging his vagabond Pharos, will disappear down a dark stairway. Are you a merchant and versed in the ways of mercantile houses? Here they will show you the massive leather‐bound ledgers of the Darien Company, the entries made with the scrupulous artistry of the days when men used the quill‐pen.
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