Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Worn Collars - Part Twenty-Eight - "Four Years" (D-2)

Worn Collars

Part Twenty-Eight

"Four Years" (D-2)

            At the doorway... to Arlington St. John’s old (rare) book room.
            I stopped.
            And let the others “go in”.
            I was not even ‘there’ the first few times the ‘others’ “go in”.
            When I finally arrived there (at the doorway)... they... had been in.
            I could tell this standing AT... and then IN... the doorway.
            “What did you expect?”

            My own revelation was... as to how...  I... standing ‘there’ ‘now’ (at and in the doorway)... had ‘never before’ at or in THAT.  No.  “Usually” (always)... I ‘went in’ and... ‘sitted’ down in... well... “MY” (the old rare book room’s guest/visitor...) “CHAIR”.  Opposite Arlington... ‘sitted’ in his chair.  But Arlington was (is) dead... so ‘things change”.
            I observed that the others; all three others (yes Steve was there that day too) were either stooped or partially stooped... ‘over’... with their backs and ... butts... ‘to me’ while they performed perfunctory self-directed intercourse with... each their own... “shelf” of “old rare books”.  I didn’t “go in” (follow).  I was having my second doorway revelation and that was:
            “How... am I... going to ‘do’ this?” (purloin the contents of Arlington’s old book room) (“take”).

            Those then before me; these are animals answering their call of nature?  I would like to hope that.  Wouldn’t you?  Or would you be a ‘one of them’ ‘too’?  THAT is a roll of paper towels with.  A spray bottle of window cleaner... that is generally expanded to use as a ‘general purpose cleaner’ (“wipe”) in our ‘u-s-a-today’... sitting on the... Arlington St. John old (rare) book room desk... with a few moisture (once wet) crumpled... dust stained... ‘used ones’ (paper towels) on the desk top too.
            I was okay with that... ‘nincompoops’.  Even the eight book stack of “obviously” ‘old rare books’ on the desk... recently “I CLEANED” (wiped with window cleaner sprayed paper towels)..:
            “Oh you don’t think I mean this”?  Then try this:  Just ONE old book... from Arlington’s old (rare) book room hoard... delineates these ‘vulgar’.”

            When I first picked it (the “ONE old book”) up it was probably four or five... maybe SIX years before Arlington died.  The book is a simplistic old book that is simple in that it appeared to be that; an old book.  With old ‘covers’ (“one half” marbled paper covered boards with black calf at the corners) ‘old’ ‘spine’ and old gilt gold title on that spine and that title says “INDICATOR” and “Leigh Hunt”.  The front cover is ‘detached” (loose and falls off ‘at the (spine) gutter’.  “Gosh... Neat!”... we said... Arlington and I ‘together’
            No it was not the book that was “Gosh. Neat!”.  Arlington showed the detached cover to me first turning it ‘inside out’ to attract my eye to the upper...inner... fore corner to discern a paste down printed paper wisp ‘book plate’ of a recent (20th century) owner and that I read easily ...to read... “FROM THE BOOKS OF FRANCIS MASSEY O’BRIEN”.  THAT... was good enough for me to ‘get the message’ but (butt?) for ‘those others one may like the ‘assist’ that Francis ‘was’ “Maine’s primer old... book... man.  Probably, I feel, he still is.  Ok... “Gosh.  Neat!”.

            Arlington continues.  Presenting my eye with the ‘cover off’ book’s... exposed front free end paper I... eye... it and “SEE”... in characteristic “I KNOW IT WHEN I SEE IT” scriptive printed pencil characteristic of the writer’s hand... TWO ‘notes’ by Francis.  The first:  “F. M. O’Brien 1942”.  The second:  “Copy of Isaac Bassett Choate poet, journalist and librarian of Portland Library (1869).  Probably bought at auction in Boston (“232/2”)”.

            Arlington flipped to the title page upper fore corner to present the “I. B. Choate 1869” owner signiture.  I... accepted the ‘this wholeness’ as bibliographically ‘nice’ and
            Arlington flipped to the ...inside back cover ... then to the... back side of the rear fly leaf (‘verso’) and... showed-off to me a THIRD Francis pencil note:  “July 5, 1990  Top edge very dusty I noticed as I picked it up today for a brief perusal, so I lightly washed it with a sponge washing off the accumulations of dust since 1845.  It looks quite decent.  F. M. O’B.”

            I have the book in my stock for sale.
            Arlington had the book in his old (rare) book room
            After he ‘found it; rescued it’... from “God knows where”.
            Francis lived with the book ...in his stock... for at least fifty eight years.
            The “Indicator” was Leigh Hunt’s self edited and “he wrote most of it” short lived magazine.
            Leigh Hunt is ‘of’ Byron and Shelly
            This book is an ‘after the fact’ ‘low rent’ (cheap) American compiled edition of the whole “Indicator” printed in ‘unreadable micro print’...:
            Only a bibliomaniac... “like Francis” would have attended to and... tended to... “this book” for fifty-eight years ‘at least’...we (Arlington and I) noted and... delighted in.
            Three bibliomaniacs... for this one... old book.  Bibliomaniacs
            ARE CRAZY...
            Until confronted by housekeeper squirting window cleaner on ‘old books’ to “clean them off”.  “Nincompoops”... I said.  “How am I going to do this?” I said.

            AT (in) the doorway I stand my ground okay.  “Not going in”.  It’s that simple.  Leave?  No:  Just stood there.  I noticed.
            WHAT am I going to notice?  I had been going in that room ‘often’ for over forty years.  “LIKE”.  “WHAT?”.  Am I going to notice... except blue jean covered butt cracks bent over for my face I...
            Damny held his own council.  Steve poised his “he should just LEAVE” contribution.  The housekeeper ...was not showing her ‘best side’ to the ‘world’.  I could look down... to the right and the left.  There I observed by revelation that ‘there is more stuff.”
            On the floor
            “Over there too”.  So one old metal file box Steve had opened and left open.  It was supposed to be for alphabetically filing “BILLS” or something but Arlington had just filled it with... old books.. and ‘pushed it (the top) closed”.
            “Steve:  Leave it alone”.  He did.  He had already finished ‘having intercourse ...with it’.  Damny... went through that.  Too?  Acts like it. 
            (NOW, now... not TOO fast with THAT.):
            “If THAT book is THAT book then that book is that book is that book; an OLD book and so those books are old books and is that book an is an old book and old books are rare books then those books must be rare books like those old books are, too, ‘must be’ old RARE books too.  And those too.  Over there”.
            “ON MY GOODNESS”.
            But Damny put the lid on it:  “JUST BECAUSE it’s OLD doesn’t mean ANYONE wants it.”
            “The old books?”

            So I know where the “Indicator” is (its physical location in the old book room).  It is with the two volume autobiography of Leigh Hunt Arlington bought for, he bragged, “one dollar”... on the “second day” of the “BOOK SALE” (pick anyone you want) he went to.  THAT book, now too, has a... ‘stupid nothing’ book... with them too being an 1872 Wheeler “DICTIONARY OF... FICTION”.  THAT book is owner inscribed “Cyrus Woodman 1873”.  Woodman....:
            A Maine Yankee turned
            Millionaire (Wisconsin) land baron
            From Bowdoin, Harvard, et al...
            By that day (1873) “retired” to Cambridge.
            “He was one of the inventors of the silver spoon”.  I am told.
            Francis “bought the Woodman library from Cyrus’ daughter”
            He told me
            A long, long time ago.
            I have had contact (talk in passing) with no one about Cyrus Woodman ever ...except Francis...

            And Arlington.
            Arlington “knew” “too”.  That is why he had that book.  And a copy of the Woodman biography next to it... too.  Damny never connected the owner signiture with the biography and... that’s ok because ‘anyone ...wants it’ was his working old book game plan in Arlington’s  ‘old (rare) book room’.
            So I am not even in... but simply at... the DOORWAY to this old book room and I ‘get it’ that... besides the old rare books Arlington inherited from his grandmother’s brother... “ANY” old rare book he “LIKED” he did not put in boxes down by the furnace but ‘put’ in his ‘old book room’.  “Oh.”
            And I looked around harder at... this... “THAT”.  “Ahhhh.... wake up call”.  “Sir.”

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