The Great Gatsby’s Library

“On a a chance we tried an important looking door, and walked into a high Gothic library, panelled with carved English oak, and probably transported complete from some ruin overseas.

A stout, middle-aged man, with enormous owl-eyed spectacles, was sitting somewhat drunk on the edge of a great table, staring with unsteady concentration at the shelves of book. As we entered he wheeled excitedly around and examined Jordan from head to foot.

“What do you think?” he demanded impetuously.

“About what?”

He waved his hand toward the bookshelves.

“About that. As a matter of fact you needn’t bother to ascertain. I ascertained. They’re real.”

“The books?”

He nodded.

“Absolutely real–have pages and everything. I thought they’d be a nice durable cardboard. Matter of fact, they’re absolutely real. Pages– Here! Let me show you.”

Taking our scepticism for granted, he rushed to the bookcases and returned with Volume One of the ‘Stoddard Lectures.’

“See!” he cried triumphantly, “It’s a bona fide of printed matter. It fooled me. This fella’s a regular Belasco. It’s a triumph What throughness! What realism! Knew when to stop, too–didn’t cut the pages. But what do you want! What do you expect?”

He snatched the book from me and replaced it hastily on its shelf, muttering that if one brick was removed the whole library was liable to collapse.”

From The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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