1 If we should live to see it ! ' said the parents, and pressed each other's hands, as if at communion.
' To think of what has happened to Hans !' said Ole. ' Our Father thinks also of the poor man's child ! And that it should happen just with the cripple ! Is it not as if Hans were to read it for us out of the story-book ?'
Where did we get the story from ?
Would you like to know that ?
We got it from the barrel, the one with the old papers in it. Many good and rare books have gone to the chandler's and the greengrocer's, not as reading, but as necessary articles. They must have paper at the grocer's for starch and coffee-beans, paper for salt herrings, butter, and cheese. Written things are also useful. Often there goes into the barrel what should not go there.
I know a greengrocer's boy, the son of a chandler ; he has risen from the cellar to the shop : a man of great reading, paper-bag reading, both the printed and the written kind. He has an interesting collection, and in it several important documents from the waste-paper basket of one and another, absent-minded and too much occupied and official: confidential letters from lady friends to each other ; scandal-communications, which must go no farther, and not be spoken of to any one. He is a living rescue-institution for no small part of literature, and has a large field to work in; he has the shops of his employer and his parents, and in these he has rescued many a book, or pagos of a book, which might well deserve a second reading.
He has shown me his collection of printed and written things from the barrel, mostly from the chandler's. There were two or three leaves of a bigger copy book: its peculiarly beautiful and distinct writing drew my attention to it at once.
' The student has written that,' he said, ' the student who lived right opposite here, and died about a month ago. One can see he has suffered severely from toothache. It is