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On the Return of a Book Lent to a Friend

by Christopher Morley

“I give hearty and humble thanks for the safe return of this book, which having endured the perils of my friend’s bookcase and the bookcases of my friend’s friends, now returns to me in reasonably good condition.

I give hearty and humble thanks that my friend did not see fit to give this book to his infant for a plaything, nor use it as an ashtray for his burning cigar, nor as a teething-ring for his mastiff.

When I lent this book I deemed it as lost; I was resigned to the business of the long parting; I never thought to look upon its pages again.

But now that my book has come back to me, I rejoice and am exceedingly glad! Bring hither the fatted morocco and let us rebind the volume and set it on the shelf of honor, for this my book was lent and is returned again.

Presently, therefore, I may return some of the books that I myself have borrowed.”

(taken from A Passion for Books, edited by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan)