opens his door, he must run his fingers through his hair and 
put his umbrella in the stand like the rest.

But here, none too soon, are the second-hand book-shops. 
Here we find anchorage in these thwarting currents of 
being; here we balance ourselves after the splendours and 
miseries of the streets. The very sight of the bookseller's 
wife with her foot on the fender, sitting beside a good coal 
fire, screened from the door, is sobering and cheerful. She 
is never reading, or only the newspaper; her talk, when 
it leaves bookselling, which it does so gladly, is about hats; she 
likes a hat to be practical, she says, as well as pretty. Oh no, 
they don't live at the shop; they live in Brixton; she must 
have a bit of green to look at. In summer a jar of flowers 
grown in her own garden is stood on the top of some dusty 
pile to enliven the shop. Books are everywhere; and always 
the same sense of adventure fills us. Second-hand books are 
wild books, homeless books; they have come together in 
vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which 
the domesticated volumes of the library lack. Besides, in 
this random miscellaneous company we may rub against 
some complete stranger who will, with luck, turn into the 
best friend we have in the world. There is always a hope, 
as we reach down some greyish-white book from an upper 
shelf, directed by its air of shabbiness and desertion, of 
meeting here with a man who set out on horseback over a 
hundred years ago to explore the woollen market in the 
midlands and Wales; an unknown traveller, who stayed 
at inns, drank his pint, noted pretty girls and serious cus-
toms, wrote it all down stiffly, laboriously for sheer love of 
it (the book was published at his own expense); was in-
finitely prosy, busy, and matter-of-fact, and so let flow in 
without his knowing it the very scent of hollyhocks and 
the hay together with such a portrait of himself as gives 
him forever a seat in the warm corner of the mind's ingle-
nook. One may buy him for eighteen pence now. He is 
marked three and sixpence, but the bookseller's wife,