The poor scholar passes daily by the stall where books tempt his poverty. Poor clothes he is content to wear; plain and even meagre diet he is willing to subsist upon; and, as for all the gay dissipations and extravagant wastes of fashionable life, he looks upon them without even understanding what they mean, as a child looks upon the Milky-Way, in the heavens, a glowing band of far-away and unexplored wonders. But, O those books! He looks longingly at morning; he peers at them with a gentle covetousness at night. He imagines new devices for earning a few dollars. He ponders whether there is not some new economy which can save a few shillings. And when good luck at last brings a score of dollars to him, with what fever of haste does he get rid of them, fairly running to the stall, and fearing, at every step, lest some fortunate man should have seized the prize.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), “Worth of Money,” in Eyes and Ears (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1862), pp. 192-195 (at 193-194).

Via Michael Gilleland who has posted the most wonderful bibliophilic quotations for years. See also The Poor Scholar