An Old Book

She had found it in the Library Sale. A small book with a light jade coloured hard cover. It was a novel. An illustrated novel about the French aristocrats and those early days of the French Revolution.

However, it was the cover illustration more than the story itself that held her fascinated. There was an intricate sketch of a little girl holding a book in her hands, standing between her mother and father beneath an elaborately designed arch. It made in the classical style, most probably with pen and ink.

When she picked up the book, she felt the pages with her hands and realised it was very old. It looked fragile and as she turned through the pages delicately, she noticed wormings and sometimes, flaky white powder would stain her fingers like chalk dust. The book was shaky in its covers, the spine had come loose. But the damp smell accompanying it, gave her a sense of nostalgia and she bought the book almost on an impulse even though it had some torn pages and had become worn out with age.

She went back home and immediately sat down to treat the book. She handled it with immense care, as though she was treating the wounds of a small child. With a soft brush she first removed the mildew, then with tape she painstakingly stuck the torn pages together and fixed the cracked edges of the book. After diligently examining the book for any other remaining injuries, she kept it in the open to get some fresh air.

She was fond of such old books. She always felt for them. Their forsaken, lonely and abandoned state of misery cried out to her. Everytime she went to the Sales, she would bring home some of these books that had stayed for too long in the dark unvisited corners of the Library, and had grown sad and gloomy over the days. Her love and attention gave these books new hope, and they soon became a part of her collection, standing happily in her shelf, knowing that here was a reader who valued them.


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