The Love Affairs of a Bibliomanic HTML version

accusations, bibliophily rather than bibliomania would be the word
to characterize his conscientious purpose. If he purchased quaint
and rare books it was to own them to the full extent, inwardly as
well as outwardly. The mania for books kept him continually
buying; the love of books supervened to make them a part of
himself and his life.
Toward the close of August of the present year my brother wrote
the first chapter of "The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac." At that
time he was in an exhausted physical condition and apparently
unfit for any protracted literary labor. But the prospect of
gratifying a long-cherished ambition, the delight of beginning the
story he had planned so hopefully, seemed to give him new
strength, and he threw himself into the work with an enthusiasm
that was, alas, misleading to those who had noted fearfully his
declining vigor of body. For years no literary occupation had
seemed to give him equal pleasure, and in the discussion of the
progress of his writing from day to day his eye would brighten, all
of his old animation would return, and everything would betray the
lively interest he felt in the creature of his imagination in whom he
was living over the delights of the book-hunter's chase. It was his
ardent wish that this work, for the fulfilment of which he had been
so long preparing, should be, as he playfully expressed it, a
monument of apologetic compensation to a class of people he had
so humorously maligned, and those who knew him intimately will
recognize in the shortcomings of the bibliomaniac the humble
confession of his own weaknesses.
It is easy to understand from the very nature of the undertaking that
it was practically limitless; that a bibliomaniac of so many years'
experience could prattle on indefinitely concerning his "love
affairs," and at the same time be in no danger of repetition. Indeed
my brother's plans at the outset were not definitely formed. He
would say, when questioned or joked about these amours, that he
was in the easy position of Sam Weller when he indited his famous