Tuesday, November 17, 2015


One Big Heap of Books

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), "Red," The Trembling of a Leaf (Garden City: Garden City Publishing Company, Inc., 1921), pp. 115-147 (at 120-121):
The skipper followed his host into the little bungalow and sat down heavily in the chair which the other motioned him to take. While Neilson went out to fetch whisky and glasses he took a look round the room. It filled him with amazement. He had never seen so many books. The shelves reached from floor to ceiling on all four walls, and they were closely packed. There was a grand piano littered with music, and a large table on which books and magazines lay in disorder. The room made him feel embarrassed. He remembered that Neilson was a queer fellow. No one knew very much about him, although he had been in the islands for so many years, but those who knew him agreed that he was queer. He was a Swede.

"You've got one big heap of books here," he said, when Neilson returned.

"They do no harm," answered Neilson with a smile.

"Have you read them all?" asked the skipper.

"Most of them."

"I'm a bit of a reader myself. I have the Saturday Evening Post sent me regler."

Edgar Degas, Portrait of Edmond Duranty

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