The reading public (by s. leacock)

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  • Publicado : 6 de março de 2013
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"Wish to look about the store? Oh, by all means, sir," said the manager of one of the biggest book stores in New York. He called to his assistant, "Just show this gentleman our ancient classics – theten-cent series." With this he dismissed me from his mind.

In other words he had guessed at a glance that I was a professor. The manager of the biggest book store cannot be deceived in acustomer. He knew I would hang around for two hours, get in everybody's way, and finally buy the Dialogues of Plato for ten cents.

He despised me, but a professor standing in a corner buried in a booklooks well in a store. It is a sort of advertisement.

So it was that standing in a far corner I had an opportunity of noticing something of this up-to-date manager's methods with his realcustomers.

"You are quite sure it's his latest?" a fashionably dressed woman was saying to the manager.

"Oh, yes, madam, this is Mr. Slush's very latest book, I assure you. It's having awonderful sale." As he spoke he pointed to a huge pile of books on the counter with the title in big letters – Golden Dreams.

"This book," said the lady idly turning over the pages, "is it good?""It's an extremely powerful thing," said the manager, "in fact it's a masterpiece. The critics are saying that without exaggeration it is the most powerful book of the season. It is bound to make asensation."

"Oh, really!" said the lady. "Well, I think I'll take it then."

Suddenly she remembered something. "Oh, and will you give me something f or my husband? He's going down south.You know the kind of thing one reads on vacation?"

"Oh, perfectly, madam. I think we have just what you husband wants. Seven Weeks in the Sahara, dollars; Six Months in a Waggon, 6 dollars;Afternoons in an Oxcart, two volumes, 4 dollars 30 cents. Or here, now, Among the Cannibals of Corfu, or Among the Monkeys of New Guinea, 10 dollars." And with this the manager laid his hand on another...
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