In the good old days, when there was such a thing as genuine "society" in provincial towns and sleepy cathedral cities; the days when the country newspaper appeared only once a week, and it was a treat to be allowed to read a Times that was merely three days old; in the days, in short, when the electric telegraph was not, and even the steam-engine was but little understood, there was no town in Great Britain which did not possess a rendezvous for those who took an interest in literature and literary matters in the shape of a bookseller's shop. The booksellers of Edinburgh, Glasgow, York, Leeds, Manchester, and Birmingham were, in those halcyon days, the great patrons of our national letters and the source of inspiration on all things literary. The clergyman, the schoolmaster, the doctor, and any stray student who preferred the comparative quiet of the country to the bustle of the capital, foregathered in the shop of the local bookseller. There they enjoyed the pleasure so dear to the book-lover of turning over the uncut leaves of the new volumes to which the delicious fragrance of the press-room still clung.
The Speaker, Volume 10