“Are you sure this is it?” David asked uncertainly.
“The binding looks right, and all three volumes are here,” Lois observed.
“But how will we know for sure?” David again questioned.
“If there is a broken ‘F’ on page forty-seven of Volume One, and a ‘nud’ instead of an ‘und’ on page one-eleven of Volume Three, then we have found first editions.”
“Should we check?” David queried.
“Not right away. We don’t want to seem too interested. They might put the price up,” Lois warned. “You start on the books on the other shelf. Just casually leaf through them, and I will do the same over here. We will work our way to the Dietrichs.”
They began the slow process of “perusal” and a half an hour later they had confirmed their suspicion that they had found the only complete set of first edition Dietrich’s Philosophie known to be extant outside the Universität Leipzig.
The couple took the books to the counter of the small Prague antique shop.
“Do you speak English?” Lois asked.
“Yes, yes,” the elderly woman said.
“How much for these, please?” Lois asked.
The woman gave them a quick look along the binding and said, “Two thousand Koruna.”
“Is that your final price?” David cut in. “How about fifteen hundred?”
In the end they settled at eighteen hundred.
The couple calmly left the shop with their new purchases wrapped in brown paper.
“I can’t believe it,” Lois said with evident glee. “First editions, and for only about sixty quid!”
Back in the shop, the proprietor called to her son, “Jan, get another set of the Dietrichs from the store room and grab a facsimile Kant while you’re at it.”