"Will you have something in books to-day?"
So the young woman prattled away,
Using her salesman lingo free,
Just as if books were pounds of tea.
That is the way the business is run,
Books by the thousand, books by the ton,
Books by the measure of mason or cook.
And the bigger the pile, the bigger the book.
"Something in books?" Yes, Miss Flippancy, yes:
Something your big store does not possess.
Give me a hook that was horn of the heart,
Free from the stains of the bank and the mart.
Give me a book that is known of the trees,
Comrade of clouds and at home with the bees;
Give me a book I shall have as a friend,
Daytime and nighttime, till living shall end.
"Ye-e-s," says Miss Flippancy, doubtfully bold,
"Here's the best seller that ever we've sold.
Every one's reading it; going like fun,
We'll sell a thousand before the day's done."
"Something in books," and the business is fine;
Let the stores carry "a popular line."
But come, dear old books, well tested and true,
Here's for an hour in a corner with you.
You were never "best sellers," when put to the test,
But you are best readers, which surely is best;
And, though all the clerks should unite to deride,
The "something in books" is the something inside!