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The Perennial Wisdom’s Owner
Old man infobox

Japanese Name

-

Romanized Name

-

Nickname(s)/Alias(es)

Old man (爺さん Jīsan)
Geezer (ジジイ Jijī)
Shopkeeper (店主 Tenshu)

Debut

Chapter 3 (light novel 2);
Episode 3

Voice actor

川久保 潔
Kiyoshi Kawakubo

Status

Alive

The Perennial Wisdom’s Owner is Hugh and Dalian’s acquaintance. Also known as old man, he’s the owner of a second-hand bookshop who provides consultation on books to the couple.

Background[]

The old man’s second-hand bookshop is located next to the capital, in the oldest academic town of the country. It’s found on a side street lined with restaurants and retail outlets. It’s a two-story building with tall bookshelves filled to capacity with books orderly arranged. Books which don’t fit the bookshelves are piled up on the floor. The silent place has not only scientific books, but also drama and popular novels. It’s not easy to find since its front, including its sign, is covered in soot. Its interior smells of dust, ink and paper. The entrance is accessed by climbing a creaky and narrow wooden staircase. Dalian gets in a good mood when she visits the bookstore.[1][2][3] In the anime, the place is known as The Perennial Wisdom.[4]

The old man stays behind a wooden counter at the back of the store. He knows Dalian for a long time. He knows that she’s a Biblioprincess and that she does not age. The owner has extensive knowledge about books, including Phantom Books, so Hugh and Dalian have the habit of consulting with him.[5] The old man has even information about figures from the underworld.[6] He sends letters to Hugh and Dalian when he obtains Phantom Books.[5] He also visits the Disward estate when he wants to borrow a book from Dalian.[7] He’s probably an acquaintance of the Disward family, since he has memories of Hugh as a child.[5]

Personality[]

The old man likes to playfully tease Dalian and Hugh. He sells strange books at a high price. He respects Dalian and he enjoys watching her examine Phantom Books. The old man has a calm, carefree personality. Dalian notices that, after many years, he never lost his liveliness. The old man addresses Hugh in a casual manner, which makes the latter uncomfortable.[5]

Appearance[]

He’s a short gray-haired old man with round glasses, deep lines in his face and wrinkled fingers. He has clear, piercing eyes.[5] In the anime, he uses a black bow tie, and he's as tall as Hugh. He wears formal brown clothing over a white shirt.[4]

Plot[]

Book of Wisdom[]

Dalian wakes up Hugh before dawn. She plans to buy some books at the capital. They visit a bookstore located in an academic town. Dalian gets in a good mood. She wants to buy entire bookshelves, but Hugh tells her to choose only five or six books. They meet Kamilla, Hugh’s childhood friend, who was looking for a textbook for her students.[1] In the anime, the old man is shown writing on his desk.[4]

Book of Equivalence[]

The old man obtained a Phantom Book. He sends a letter to Hugh and Dalian. The old man wants Dalian to examine it. Hugh and Dalian reach the bookstore in the afternoon. The old man tells Hugh that he’s late. The old man bows politely to Dalian. In his eyes, she never seems to change. Dalian notices that he’s as lively as ever. As always, he has strange books for sale at a high price. Dalian offers Hugh’s organs in exchange for the books. The old man was surprised to learn that Hugh became Dalian’s key-keeper. The old man remembers when a three-years-old Hugh got himself lost in Wesley’s library and cried all night.

With no patience, Dalian tells the old man to show her the book. He rummages around his desk, moving books and stacks of paper, raising dust. After some time, he laughs awkwardly. He realizes that he sold the book by accident. In the morning, a client bought an entire bookshelf with items at a discount. The old man mistakenly included the book. Dalian slams his table, furious. The old man tells them about the client. It was a charming young lady who gave him a ride. The old man and the client talked on the way. The old man doesn’t know her name, but he describes her unusual clothes. Hugh and Dalian realize that the old man is referring to Kamilla. The couple worries that Kamilla will hurt herself while using the Book of Equivalence. Hugh and Dalian run out of the bookstore.[5]

Book of Soul Exchange[]

Dalian wants to read the sequel of Lenny Lents’ works. Hugh and Dalian visit his house. There, they meet Paula. The latter affirms to be Lents’ wife, but the couple suspects her. Hugh goes to a telegraph station. He sends a telegram to the old man, asking information about Paula. Later, the old man answers Hugh by telegram. Hugh learns that Paula Dickinson is a crazy fan who torments Lents’ life. Lents dies after the events of Book of Soul Exchange, so Dalian decides to write the sequel herself with the help of Hugh. She even asked the old man to gather some fanmade stories involving Lents’ characters to use as reference.[8]

Old man telegram

Hugh receives a telegram from the old man.

Book of Atonement[]

After the events of Book of Atonement, Dalian tells Hugh that they will go to the second-hand bookshop. It seems like the old man is selling some strange things again.[9]

Phantom Score[]

Hugh and Dalian meet Christabel Sistine in a park. A few days later, the couple visits the second-hand bookshop. Dalian plunges into reading. The old man wonders if she found something interesting, but she rudely tells him not to bother her. Hugh asks the old man to show him a brochure displayed inside a glass case. The cover depicts a young girl holding a violin. The old man teases Hugh by saying that the woman is indeed very attractive. The old man reveals that she’s Christabel Sistine, a famous violinist who plays the impossible sonatas of Guglielmo Baldini. The old man heard that people pay a fortune to listen to her. He removes a newspaper from the pile of papers on his desk. The article reveals that Christabel is building her own concert hall. The old man heard that Christabel is being supported by a cunning entrepreneur. The old man starts to organize the books around.[3]

Perennial Wisdom (2)

Hugh, Dalian and the old man discuss about Christabel Sistine.

The Cat and the Biblioprincess[]

Hugh finds a stray cat which later he names Heath. Hugh is about to leave the Disward estate to meet his sick friend. Hugh reminds Dalian that, after dinner, the old man will drop by. The old man had asked Dalian to borrow a book about gardening. However, it’s revealed that Heath died in a future where many lives were lost because of that book. Heath, now resurrected before the events which triggered the disaster, has the opportunity to destroy the book. When Hugh returns, he learns that the book became a heap of scraps. He ensures Dalian that he will apologize to the old man.[7]

The Observer[]

A man finds a beautiful and unusual photo album at the window of a second-hand bookshop. He buys the album and runs out of the store. On a wooden staircase, he runs into Dalian. She tells him to look only one page per day.[2]

The Template Book[]

Hugh and Dalian meet Leon Kim Keynes. The latter is being threatened by an immortal man. The next morning, Hugh and Dalian visit the second-hand bookshop. The old man usually doesn’t see them so early. Dalian is looking for a killer, but the old man explains that he only sells books. Hugh asks for information about a book carried by the assassin Wesley Clade. Hugh talks about Clade, but the old man apparently already knows about him. The old man somehow learned that the assassin is threatening the Keynes family. The old man explains that Clade shared a dormitory with author Zenova Hallward. The author’s description of Clade became a Phantom Book. Clade will have eternal life and young appearance as long as the Template Book exists. The old man rummages through a pile of books. He gives a book to Hugh. The book is a copy of the Template Book. Clade printed and distributed copies of the Phantom Book throughout the world in order to preserve the forbidden knowledge.[6]

Vignette of Eternal Twilight[]

Hugh and Dalian go to the Asquith castle to look for the Vignette of Eternal Twilight. Apparently, the Phantom Book Thief is also looking for the Phantom Book. Inspector Grosseteste asks what Hugh knows about the Phantom Book. Hugh affirms that, according to the owner of a used bookstore, the Vignette of Eternal Twilight is a picture book. Hugh proceeds to tell Grosseteste about the story surrounding the Phantom Book.[10]

Song of the Unseen Tomorrow (anime-only)[]

The old man appears in his store at the anime conclusion.[11]

Old man

The old man in his bookshop.

Trivia[]

  • The bookshop is located at the oldest university town in the country.[4] The author is probably referring to Oxford. There are evidences of teaching at the University of Oxford as far back as 1096. It's the oldest university in the English-speaking world.[12]
  • Perennial wisdom is a perspective in philosophy and spirituality that views all of the world's religious traditions as sharing a single, metaphysical truth or origin from which all esoteric and exoteric knowledge and doctrine has grown.[13]

References[]

Characters

Biblioprincesses

Dalian - Flamberge - Rasiel

Key-keepers

Hugh Anthony Disward - Hal Kamhout - Professor

Recurring characters

The Girl in the Bookshelf - Wesley Disward - Kamilla Sauer Keynes - Jessica Elphinstone - Shura Irmania - Armand Jeremiah - The Perennial Wisdom's Owner - Oliver Grosseteste - Mithril - Hugh's mother - Hugh's father - Natalia - Hal's beloved - Miss Roedean

Creatures and machines

Atlantic Rim - Automaton - Beast of Ashwell - Book of Royal Power - Branches of Relationship - Broken Wings - Dantalian - Dead Book - Ghost train - Golem - Guignols - Guillemot - Heath - House-elf - Kasuruhau - Logbook - Loge's giant - Musical automaton - Pioneer Plant - The Harlequinade's creatures - Ras Alhague monster - Scarlet Robe - Sea devils - Steam Giant - The Queen of the Night - W Machine - Winged women - Wooden dolls - Zombies

Dalian Days

Priscilla Riley - Cecil Patreina - Margaret Manschwell

Others

Male Characters - Female Characters
Phantom Book Users - Deceased Characters
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