Bohemia in London Arthur Ransome
Thursday, 24 January 2013
Books and brussels sprouts
" In the open markets held in the shabbier streets, where flaring naphtha lights swing over barrows like those set up once a week in the squares of little country towns, I have often stood in the jostling crowd of marketers, to turn over old, greasy, tattered covers. There is an aloofness about the bookstall even there, where it stands in line with a load of brussels sprouts and cabbages on one side, and a man selling mussels and whelks on the other. The bookstall, even in its untidiness, has always the air of the gentleman of the three, come down in the world perhaps, but still one of a great family. I have sometimes been tempted to apologise to the bookseller for taking a penn'orth of cockles and vinegar while looking at his books. It seemed etiquette not to perceive that grosser, less intellectual stalls existed."