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Home library – a prose description

I have posted many images of various home libraries and their furnishings. It gives me special pleasure, however, to reproduce this piece of prose that speaks to the heart of a true book lover using a more familiar medium — the written word. This fragment is from Uncle Hiram’s Library by ‘Cousin Hannah’. It appeared in  Merry’s museum and Parley’s magazine in 1857. The description is both idyllic and romantic, with everything that makes a great home library briefly mentioned…

A bright fire is burning in the library fireplace, and oh, how pleasant the blazing logs look, what a bright cheerful light they make when twilight comes on! On every side of the room are well-filled book-cases, reaching almost up to the ceiling. A large study table is in the middle of the room, covered with Uncle’s books and papers, and close by is his arm-chair, ready for him whenever he wants to write or read. His favorite place, however, is that lazy-looking seat, half sofa, half arm-chair, by the fire. Here he rests at twilight, and tells his children all sorts of stories about days gone by. Over the fireplace hangs a picture of an old monastery, which, perched upon an overhanging cliff, overlooks a smiling valley; in the tower is a tiny bell, which strikes the hour with a clear, sweet tone, while the hands of the clock, small as they are, keep perfect time in their journey round the clock face. The clear ringing of Uncle Hiram’s clock is heard all over the house, and we call it “the Convent Bell.” Now, I have told you all the wonders of Uncle’s library, except some little curious things which are scattered about on the table and shelves, or in the drawers; many of them are presents from far-off friends. One is an inkstand, which always stands on his study-table; ’tis made of the claw of an eagle—the three toes, tipped with silver, form the stand, and a little socket is made in the leg, to hold an inkstand.

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