Robert Simms was a lowly bank clerk. He led a dull, humdrum existence.Every morning, he joined scores of others like him on the tube to town. From the tube station he caught a twenty minute bus ride to his bank.
At the bank, he went through several of the formalities concerned with the counting, depositing and withdrawing of money. To Robert, these procedures concerning the storage of money were just as inane as the earning of it.
In Robert’s mind, only one thing occupied any real importance: and this was the wonderful world of books. Myth and legend, adventure and biography; when Robert was lost between the pages of a book, he became oblivious to the border between fiction and reality.
It was not surprising that Robert spent all of his free time at libraries or book shops, looking for more books to read. His taste ran more towards classic literature. Hence he could find many of his favourites at the old book shops that sold used books.
One Monday morning, he arrived at work to find an official looking envelope waiting for him. Inside was a single sheet of expensive notepaper. Robert’s hand trembled as he read the typed letter with the signature below.
Robert’s Great Uncle Willoughby had passed away, leaving him his entire fortune. Robert’s grandmother, a Willoughby, had been cut off from her family when she married his grandfather, owner of a small haberdashery. Contact between the two families had been minimal, so it was small wonder that Robert had known nothing about Uncle Willoughby’s protracted illness and his demise.
News of this windfall was very timely however. Robert’s love of books sometimes extended to buying them. He knew he could not really afford to indulge on his meagre salary but sometimes gave in to temptation. His bank account was currently overdrawn owing to his purchase of a set of Charles Dickens’ complete works. Leather bound and gold edged, the set was a bargain at a hundred and twenty pounds; but Robert’s overstretched account had suffered irreparable damage.
It was with a light heart, therefore, that Robert rang the bell at Willoughby Manor the very next morning. He had arranged to meet his Uncle’s solicitor, Mr. Venables for discussing the formalities related to his inheritance.
“Mr. Venables is waiting for you in the library, sir,”announced the liveried butler as he led the way. The butler pushed open a heavy oak door, and Robert was mesmerised by the sight that met his eyes.
In a room as big as a cave, stood tall bookshelves filled with row upon row of books. Robert picked up a volume and sank into a nearby armchair. The book was “Barchester Towers”, one of the lesser known works of Anthony Trollope.
Robert fingered the volume reverentially. Its binding was exquisite, calf leather, inscribed with gold lettering. He looked around as he feasted his eyes on the wealth of books before him.
Before his eyes had grown accustomed to the treasures before him, Mr. Venables tried to elaborate the extent of his inheritance. But Robert could not absorb details of agricultural property, company shares or shipping interests. His eyes were only for the books.
Written for the following word prompts:
Three Things Challenge 3TC (feasted, minds, grown)
Word of the Day Challenge (exquisite),
Your Daily Word Prompt (lost),
Nova’s Daily Random Word no. 34 (legend),
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (inane),
Daily Addictions (border),
Ragtag Daily Prompt (timely),
and Michael’s Writing Prompts (cave).