He wanted to get out of the rain.
To be dry for a while before he had to go back outside and carry on with his journey.
He didn’t really have any money to spend but he liked books so he browsed slowly through the shelves of that cluttered and dusty place.
Carefully he lifted down books one by one and gently flicked through their pages in an effort to kill time.
Eventually he took down a heavy old book with a dusty, worn cover that caught his eye.
The Magazine of Art by Cassell and Company.
The man liked art so he observed each page with more care than he had the other books before.
As he turned the pages he was amazed by what he saw.
Each time he reached one of the beautiful plates that illustrated the book he couldn’t see them.
And the reason he couldn’t see them was because somebody else had drawn in there.
Each time there was a page of illustration somebody else had obscured it with their own drawings that were often better than that picture that had been there in the first place.
The man didn’t have any money to spend but he knew this book was so special that he couldn’t leave it behind.
“Excuse me. How much do you want for this book?”
The man rooted through his pockets.
When he counted up all his change he had just enough money to buy the book.
“There you go.”
He placed the money into the shopkeeper’s hands.
The shopkeeper slowly counted out the money.
He handed his customer back a single coin.
“You gave me ten pence too much.”
The man put the book under his arm making sure it was well protected from the weather.
Then he pulled the collar of his coat up around his neck and headed back out into the rain.
Photo courtesy of Quite Adept