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of about ten feet. The diameter of its stem
is two or three inches, and from its surface
peel can be taken off, layer after layer, to the
number of about twenty coatings. The use
of this peel soon occurred to the Egyptians as
an improvement upon ordinary bark. To
prepare papyrus for use, having cut off the
brush from above, and the root from below,
the Egyptians cut each stem into two pieces
of equal length, and then proceeded to the
peeling. The layers became smaller, of course,
but also whiter, as the peelers gradually approached
the centre of the stem. Each strip
was then extended flat, and suffered a few
slight acts of preparation before another strip
was placed over it, in such a manner that the
fibres of the two strips crossed each other's
grain, and gave strength to the whole when
they were joined together; they were joined,
perhaps by their own saccharine matter, or
by simple vegetable gluten, beaten together,
pressed and polished. A number of these
prepared and strengthened slips having been
gummed and beaten together at the edges,
would form a papyrus sheet of any size; and
the whole, having been thus prepared, was
impregnated with oil of cedar to preserve it
from corruption. Of the papyrus manufactured,
there soon came to be several qualities.
That made from the fine white strips
in the middle was imperial, and called " August."
The middle quality, used by the priests,
was called " hieratic " until flattery named it,
after the wife of Augustus, " Livia." The finest
sort, however, being torn too easily by the
hand, pointed reeds were improved in the reign
of Claudius, by crossing with a more plebeian

Papyrus could be written upon one
side only. The introduction of this material
by the Egyptians gave a great lift to the
letter-writer, and to literature generally.
It is, as Germans would say, the "name-father"
to paper, and a very respectable and
worthy elder. Books were copied into long
rolls of sheet glued under sheet: the sheet
which felt the first glue was called, on that
account, the protocol, and our diplomatists
preserve the term in their transactions.

The run upon papyrus being very great,
that plant began to show some signs of
scarcity in Egypt, and for that reason, among
others, its exportation was at one period forbidden.
At the same time the Kings of Pergamus
began to be a literary sect, and wanted
something whereupon their scribes might
copy books. The skins of beasts, which, in a
rough state, had before, in various places,
been occasionally used, attracted now increased
attention. They were smoothed and
prepared into dry substances, called, after
Pergamus, Pergament or Parchment, and
vellum, which is but another way of saying
skin. Here was another capital, durable
thing, which found its way into the world
about two or three hundred years before
Christ. It was dear, however, and for common
purposes papyrus was so much more
convenient, that the Egyptian paper never
was supplanted, until the birth of a system
which got paper out of cotton, certainly
not earlier than seven or eight hundred years
after the first discovery of parchment. The
world then worked on for something like a
thousand years before we hit upon the plan
of making paper out of linen rags; a very
lucky thing, for up to that time the monks,
who could not go to the expense of much new
parchment, had been industriously scraping
out the copied records of antiquity, and works
of its great masters, to make room for their
own opinions on things in general, and saints
and miracles particularly. The gradual progress
of the art of paper-making to the present
day, it is not necessary now to illustrate;
but we may refer, in connexion with this
subject, to the description of a paper-mill,
contained in No. 23 of this Journal.

Probably the first pen was a piece of flint,
or any barbarous chisel; which would be
supplanted by some kind of iron style so soon
as civilisation had advanced sufficiently for
the attainment of an instrument in iron.
These metal pens were generally found less
suitable than reeds when men had come to
possess the power of writing with a coloured
fluid upon parchment or papyrus. The first
ink probably was the dark matter from the
"ink-bag " of the different species of cuttlefish;
that is what the " Indian ink," made
and employed in China, ought to be, though
the Chinese (horrible cheats) imitate it frequently
with lamp-black. Our colour called
sepia is the same thing, differing in character
as coming from a molusc of another species.
To people with weak eyes the Romans sometimes
wrote with an exceedingly black ink
on ivory. But even where a letter would be
written on papyrus with ink and a reed, it
was first put together on wax, in most cases
with an iron style: for the Romans were
more clever at the sword than at the pen,
and it bothered the brains of an average
Roman very much to write a decent letter.
It was requisite to make a rough draft in the
first instance, and he did this with a style on
wax, where he could erase, interpolate, and
botch with comfort, till he had struck out a
composition to his liking. That iron age of
writing passed away, and the great thinkers
of the world stirred nations with a feather.
Feather and Pen are words of the same meaning,
but the age of feather-writing is upon
the wane, and iron has come back into the
world. In fifty years we shall be again
writing with metallic instruments, and Pen
will then be a word whose etymology can be
explained only by the story of the past, just
as we have to go back now when we explain
the name of Paper.

The Roman letters in the form of rolls were
fastened with a seal of soft wax, on which,
from the time of the first emperors, it was
usual to make an impression peculiar to the