This is an short story book. A collection of informal essays about books in his library. He combines commentary, translations, and humorous asides about authors and their subjects. It is curious to reflect that the library, in our customary sense, is quite a modern institution. Three hundred years ago there were no public libraries in Europe. The Ambrosian, at Milan, dates from 1608; the Bodleian, at Oxford, from 1612. To these Angelo Rocca added his in Rome, in 1620. But private collections of books always existed, and these were the haunts of learning, the little glimmering hearths over which knowledge spread her cold fingers, in the darkest ages of the world. To-day, although national and private munificence has increased the number of public libraries so widely that almost every reader is within reach of books, the private library still flourishes. There are men all through the civilised world to whom a book is a jewel—an individual possession of great price. I have been asked to gossip about my books, for I also am a bibliophile. But when I think of the great collections of fine books, of the libraries of the magnificent, I do not know whether I dare admit any stranger to glance at mine. The Mayor of Queenborough feels as though he were a very important personage till Royalty drives through his borough without noticing his scarf and his cocked hat; and then, for the first time, he observes how small the Queenborough town-hall is. But if one is to gossip about books, it is, perhaps, as well that one should have some limits. I will leave the masters of bibliography to sing of greater matters.