TO the lover of books Paris is one of the most charming of cities, for almost from time immemorial she has had bookstalls and book‐sellers, and for two or three centuries at least there have been delightful open‐air book boxes ranged along the quais, especially those from the Pont Royale to the Pont Notre Dame, with their actual interests and potential treasures. The bookstall keepers are of many types and of both sexes. Some are good natured philosophers who, plying their trade for the sake of a living, are always open to bargain if one spots a treasure that one desires to possess. Others are more serious salesmen who well know the value of their wares, unless perchance some rara avis has got into their possession which is in value beyond their ken. Yet others are wonderful scholars, who not only know the value of the books, but love books for their own sake, and actually suffer pangs of regret to part with them when a customer comes along. These are mines of information regarding editions, title pages, colophons, and all the small data which may make a book extremely valuable, and without which the book may be worth next‐door to nothing. The women book‐sellers, mostly buxom dames with smiling faces and bright alert eyes, are keener over a bargain when selling their books than their male confreres, and though often possessing expert knowledge have a tendency—some of them—to over‐estimate the value of their possessions, and to say “But yes, monsieur, this is a rare edition,” when one questions the price, and knows quite well that there is nothing at all special about the book.
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