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on there, as elsewhere, with a rapidity that
would have made the blood flush to the
head of Guttenberg, or Faust, or Peter
Schæffer. Really the world is not greatly
to be blamed for idleness, when we
consider that it is, after all, only about four
hundred years since the art of printing was
invented. The legend of the men of Strasburg,
who will have it that their townsman
Johann Mentelin cut the first types of wood
and strung them like beads, side by side, and
that Guttenberg was prompted by a runaway
from StrasburgMentelin's servant,
G√§nsfleisch (by interpretation Goose meat)—
is but among the tales of yesterday. When
the art of printing was invented, more than
half the knowledge of the best educated
portion of the world was nothing beyond
what had been taught two thousand years
before.

As for the acres of white paper and the
ponds of writing ink, the mileage of finger
movement that precede the issue of each
week's allowance of print to the world, it is
enough for us to have indicated how much
of that comes under our notice in connexion
with the printing of H. W., which is
dispersed every week over the country. It is
indeed not easy to forget the past when our
attention is directed to the mass of printer's
labour that is set in action by the pence of
our subscribers. When the first printers
used their types on the first printed Bible,
they were in despair because it had cost them
four thousand florins by the time they had
printed to the end of the twelfth sheet; and
the works issued by them, though some ten
times cheaper than written copies, were still
what we should now think enormously
expensive.

The most familiar portion of the printer's
work, as it is done at this day, it is not
necessary to describe. Few do not know
how the scrap of written paper, placed
conveniently before him, is regarded by the
compositor in the most literal sense as the
production of a man of letters; and how
all the author's a's and b's, translated into
lead, are reproduced with an impartial
fidelity that never troubles itself to consider
whether it is reproducing sense or nonsense.
From the types arranged, line under line, in
lines of a fit length, forming a long column,
a rough impression is taken of each article
upon three or four long slips of paper, as
a proof of the accuracy of the printer's
handiwork. A reader in the printing-office
then corrects all errors of the kind for which
that office is responsible. The printer's work
being made so far accurate, and fresh proofs
having been printed, those are sent to the
office; to which the responsibility attaches
of the truth and fitness of the literary
workmanship. Alterations are then often
made in the matter or the manner of the
article. In that case the compositors undo
much that they have done; and, with the
expedition of good generals, break up their
lines to form them again into solid columns.
The work of two-fold correction has then of
course to be repeated.

The long irregular columns broken into
detachments of an equal size, are paired into
pages again. Two pages are wedded and bound
together, and then, bondage within bondage,
four of these couples are wedged within an iron
frame or chase, into a square. A set is thus
made of eight pages, cunningly arranged with
a view to the subsequent folding of the
half sheet of paper upon which they will be
printed at a single stroke. H. W. is in this
formand in this form only, we would hope
a desperately heavy journal. The mass of
type prepared thus for eight pages of a
number contains more than forty thousand
separate fragments of type, and weighs eighty-
seven pounds and a half.

Three such iron-bound tablets of lead
contain the matter of one number; and, from
these, several proofs are again struck for
final correction and revision. When the last
amendments have been made, and all is so
far accounted satisfactory, the frames
containing the compositors' work are carried
down into the domains of Vulcan:—for H. W.
never appears until it has gone through fire
and water.

The two hundred and sixty-two pounds
and a half weight of unpublished H. W.
are taken down into a vault, which may be
regarded as a workshop of Vulcan by reason
of the strong fire-heat that is in it. We
observe, too, by the light of its three furnaces,
a pan of Vulcan's brothboiling-hot lead
soupin a corner. In other respects we
might take the workers in this hot cave for
the miller and his men; for they are all
covered with a white dust, and white is the
prevailing colour of all the splash and soil
that is to be seen about the walls and floors
and benches. There is a bin filled with
white powder in the middle of the room;
and, from one corner, there proceeds the sound
of water flowing from a tap. In another corner
is a gas-jet; for the gloom natural to this
workshop on the basement story is dispelled
by gas.

Each stereotype plate is the casting of two
pages. The workman takes therefore one pair
of leaden pages bound in its frame, lays it
before him and beats upon its surface with a
broad, flat wooden mallet. The blows of the
mallet are intended to abase all stuck-up
leads, and to produce a perfect evenness upon
the surface of the type from which it is
designed to make a casting. After they have
had their beating the two pages are carried
to another part of the long work-bench, or
dresser, that runs along the wall; and, being
set down by another workman near the
water tap and sink, are covered with a thin
cream. "Plaster of Paris mixed with water,"
the stereotyper tells us. "That's for the
quads."