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composition to exhaust them. Glancing justment be effected. But the composioccasionally at his copy before him, he tor's own errors are scarcely put to rights consecutively picks up, with a zigzag before a much greater difficulty arrives, movement, and with almost the velocity namely, the author's corrections, for which of lightning, the letters he requires. In the compositors are very properly paid arranging these types in the stick,' or 6d. an hour. little frame, which he holds in his left It can easily be believed that it is as hand, he must of course place them with difficult for a compositor to produce a their heads or letter-ends uppermost: be- correct copy of his MS., as it is for a taisides which, they must, like soldiers, be lor to make clothes to fit the person he made all to march the same way; for has measured; but the simile must stop otherwise one letter in the page would be here, for what would be the exclamations eyes right,' one eyes left, another of Mr. Stultze, or Madame Maradan Car
eyes front, while another would be son, if they were to be informed that the looking to the rear. This insubordina- gentleman or the lady whom they had but tion would produce, not only confusion, a few days ago measured, had, while their but positive errors, for p would pass for clothes were a-making, completely altered d, n for u, q for 6, &c. To avoid all this in shape, form and dimensions ? That, the type are all purposely cast with a for instance, the gentleman had lost his • nick' on one of their sides, by which calves—had 'an increasing belly, and a simple arrangement they are easily re- decreasing leg'--that, from being a dwarf, cognised, and made to fall into their he had swelled into a giant—or that his places the right way; and compositors as arms had become shorter—and that his regularly place the nicks of their type all frame had shrivelled into half its bulk :outermost
, as ladies and gentlemen scien- that, again, Miladi's waist had suddenly tifically seat themselves at dinner, with expanded—that her 'bustle' had materitheir nicks (we mean their mouths) all ally increased, while her lovely daughter, facing the dishes. In short, a guest sit- who, but a week ago, was measured as a ting with his back to his plate is not, in mop-stick, had all at once what is usually the opinion of a compositor, a greater termed come out.' breach of decorum, than for a letter to Now, ridiculous as all these changes face the wrong way. The composing- may sound, they are—to say nothing of stick contains the same sort of relative the heart-ache caused by “bad copy,' in proportion to a page as a paragraph. It which, besides being almost illegible, the holds a certain measure of type, and as author himself evidently does not know soon as it is filled, the paragraph, or what he means to say—no more than fragment of paragraph, it contains, is those with which compositors are contransplanted into the page to which it stantly afflicted. Few men can dare to belongs. This process is repeated until print their sentiments as they write them. the pages composing a sheet, being com- Not only must the frame-work of their pleted, are firmly fixed by wooden quoins composition be altered, but a series of or wedges into an iron frame called a minute posthumous additions and sub'chase; and after having thus been pro- tractions are ordered, which it is almost perly prepared for the proof-press, a sin- impossible to effect; indeed, it not unfregle copy is pulled off,' and the business quently happens that it would be a shortof correction then begins.
er operation for the compositor to set up As the compositor receives nothing for the types afresh, than to disturb his work curing his own mistakes, they form the piecemeal, by the quantity of codicils and self-correcting punishment of his offence. alterations which a vain, vacillating, The operation is the most disagreeable, crotchety writer has required. and, by pressure on the chest incurred in A glance at the different attitudes of leaning over the form, it is also the most the sixty compositors working before us unhealthy part of his occupation. "A is sufficient to explain even to a stranger sharp bodkin and patience' are said by the whether they are composing, distributing, craft to be the only two instruments which correcting, or imposiny; which latter are required for correction: by the former occupation is the fixing corrected pages a single letter can be abstracted and ex- into the iron frames or 'chases,' in which changed; by the latter, if a word has been they eventually go to press. But our improperly omitted or repeated, the type reader has probably remained long enough in the neighbourhood of the error can be in the long hall, and we will therefore inexpanded or contracted, (technically term. troduce him to the very small cells of the ed driven out,' or 'got in,') until the ad.' readers.
In a printing establishment the reader' tions, intoxicated hyperbole, faults in is almost the only individual whose occu- grammar, and above all, in punctuation, pation is sedentary; indeed the galley- it is his especial duty to point out. It slave can scarcely be more closely bound is, therefore, evidently necessary that he to his oar than is a reader to his stool. be complete master of his own tongue. On entering his cell, his very attitude is It is also almost necessary that he should a striking and most graphic picture of have been brought up a compositor, in earnest attention. It is evident, from his order that he may be acquainted with the outline, that the whole power of his mind mechanical department of that business; is concentrated in a focus upon the page and we need hardly observe that, from the before him; and as in midnight the lamps intelligent body of men whose presence of the mail, which illuminate a small por- we have just left, it is not impossible to tion of the road, seem to increase the select individuals competent to fulfil the pitchy darkness which in every other di- important office of readers. rection prevails, so does the undivided But even to these persons, however attention of a reader to his subject evi- carefully selected, it is not deemed safe dently abstract his thoughts from all solely to intrust the supervision of a other considerations. An urchin stands work: out of them one is generally seby reading to the reader from the copy-lected, upon whom the higher duty defurnishing him, in fact, with an addition- volves of scrutinizing their labours, and al pair of eyes; and the shortest way to of finally writing upon their revises the irattract his immediate notice is to stop revocable monosyllable 'Press.' his boy : for no sooner does the stream We have already observed that while of the child's voice cease to flow than the the reader' is seated in his cell, there machinery of the man's mind ceases to stands beside him a small intelligent boy, work ;-something has evidently gone who is in fact, the reader ; that is to say, wrong !-he accordingly at once raises he reads aloud from the copy, while the his weary head, and a slight sigh, with man pores upon and corrects the corres. one passage of the hand across his brow, ponding print. This child, for such he is generally sufficient to enable him to is in comparison with the age of the masreceive the intruder with mildness and ter he serves, cannot be expected to take attention.
any more interest in the heterogeneous Although the general interests of liter- mass of literature which he emits, than ature, as well as the character of the art the little marble Cupids in Italy can be of printing, depend on the grammatical supposed to relish the water which is accuracy
and typographical correctness made everlastingly to stream from their of the reader, yet from the cold-heart- mouths. The subject these boys are ed public he receives punishment, but no spouting is generally altogether beyond reward. The slightest oversight is de- their comprehension; and even if it were clared to be an error ; while, on the not so, the pauses that ensue while the other hand, if by his unremitted applica- reader' is involved in reflection and cortion no fault can be detected, he has rection would be quite sufficient to break nothing to expect from mankind but to its thread: but it often happens that they escape and live uncensured. Poor Gold- read that which is altogether incompresmith lurked a reader in Samuel Richard- hensible to them. Accordingly in one son's office for many a hungry day in the cell the boy is found reading aloud to his early period of his life!
patron a work in the French language, In a large printing establishment, the which he has never learned, and which real interest of which is to increase the therefore he is thus most ludicrously prohealthy appetite of the public by supply- nouncing exactly as if it were English :ing it with wholesome food of the best possible description, it is found to be ab • Less ducks knee sonte pass,' &c.&c.&c. solutely necessary that the readers'
i.e. (Les ducs ne sont pas,) &c. should be competent to correct, not only To the reader's' literary ears this must the press, but the author. It is requisite be almost as painful as, to common nerves, not only that they should possess a micro- the setting of a saw: yet he patiently lisscopic eye, capable of detecting the mi- tens, and laboriously proceeds with his nutest errors, but be also enlightened task. On entering another cell, the boy, judges of the purity of their own lan- who, perhaps, has never known sickness, guage. The general style of the author is found monotonously reading, with a cannot, of course, be interfered with; shrill voice, from a page entitled “Tabubut tiresome repetitions, incorrect asser- lar Abstract of the Causes of Death,' the
following most melancholy catalogue, the dismal roads by which our fellowchiefly in, to him, unintelligible Latin, of countrymen have just departed from life :
As soon as the last reader' has affixed / When iron first began to be substituted his imprimatur on the labours of the com- in our navy for purposes for which it had positor, the chases containing the type are hitherto been deemed to be totally inapsecurely fixed, and they are then carried plicable, it is said that an honest sailor, to the press-room, to which, with them, gravely turning his quid, observed to his we will now proceed.
comrade, “Why, Jack, our purser tells me Descending from the readers’' cells to that the Admiralty are going to provide us the ground floor, the visitor, on approach- with cast-iron parsons ! The doctor of a ing the northern wing of Mr. Clowes's steam printing-press is already composed establishment, hears a deep rumbling of this useful material, but the other sesound, the meaning of which he is at a ven rollers are of an infinitely softer subloss to understand, until the doors before stance. They are formed of a mixture of him being opened, he is suddenly intro- treacle and glue; and in colour, softness, duced to nineteen enormous steam-presses, and consistency they are said, by those which, in three compartments, are all who have studied such subjects, exactly working at the same time. The simul- to resemble the arm of a young negro taneous revolution of so much complicat- girl. ed machinery, crowded together in com Above the table, the forms, and the rolparatively a small compass, coupled with lers we have described, are, besides other a moment's reflection upon the important wheels, two very large revolving cylin. purpose for which it is in motion, is ders, covered with flannel; the whole apastounding to the mind; and as broad paratus being surmounted by a boy, who leather straps are rapidly revolving in all has on a lofty table by his side a pile of directions, the stranger pauses for a mo- quires of white paper. ment to consider whether or not he may Every time the lower bed has moved, not get entangled in the process, and this boy places on the upper cylinder a against his inclination, as authors general- sheet of paper, which is ingeniously conly say in their prefaces, go 'to press.' fined to its station by being slipped under
We will not weary our reader by at- two strings of tape. It is, however, no tempting a minute delineation of the sooner affixed there, than by a turn of the wonderful picture before him, or even in- engine, revolving with the cylinder, it is troduce to his notice the intelligent engi- flatly deposited on the first of the 'forms, neer, who, in a building apart from the which, by the process we have described, machinery, is in solitude regulating the has been ready inked to receive it: it is clean, well-kept, noiseless steam-engine there instantaneously pressed, is then which gives it motion; we will merely caught up by the other cylinder, and, afdescribe the literary process.
ter rapidly revolving with it, it is again The lower part of each of the nineteen left with its white side imposed upon the steam-presses we have mentioned consists second ‘form,' where it is again subject. of a bed or table, near the two ends of ed to pressure, from which it is no sooner which lie prostrate the two sets of chases' released than it is hurried within the containing the types (technically called grasp of another boy at the bottom part
forms') we have just seen adjusted, and of the machinery, who, illumined by a from which impressions are to be taken. gas light, extricates it from the cylinder,
By the power of machinery these types, and piles it on a heap by his side. at every throb of the engine, are made By virtue of this beautiful process, a horizontally to advance and retire. At sheet of paper, by two revolutions of the every such movement they are met half engine, with the assistance only of two way by seven advancing black rollers, boys, is imprinted on both sides, with not which diagonally pass over them, and thus, only, say sixteen pages of letter-press, but, by a most beautiful process, impart to with the various wood-cuts which they them ink sufficient only for a single im- contain. Excepting an hour's intermispression. As quickly as the types recede, sion, the engines, like the boys, are at re. the seven rollers revolve backwards till gular work from eight A. M. till eight P. M., they come in contact with another large besides night-work, when it is required. roller of kindred complexion termed the Each steam-press is capable of printing doctor,' which supplies them with ink, 1000 sheets an hour. which he, “the doctor,' himself receives The apartments above the machinery from a dense mass of ink, which by the we have described contain no less than constant revolution of Esculapius assumes twenty-three common or hand-presses of also the appearance of a roller.
various constructions; besides which, in
each of the compositors' rooms there is sermon preached by him at St. Paul's Cross, what is termed a proof-press. Each of We must root out printing, or printing these twenty-three presses is attended by will root us out ! Nevertheless, the men two pressmen, one of whom inks the of the old school were soon compelled form, by means of a roller, whilst the to adopt the novelty thus hateful: in fact, other lays and takes off the paper very many of the present names of our type nearly as fast as he can change it, and have been derived from their having been by a strong gymnastic exertion, affording first employed in the printing of Romish a striking feature of variety of attitude, prayers: for instance, ' Pica,' from the imparts to it a pressure of from a ton to a service of the Mass, termed Pica or Pie, ton and a half, the pressure depending from the glaring contrast between the upon the size and lightness of the form ; black and white on its page— Primer,' this operation being performed by the two from Primarius, the book of prayers to men, turn and turn about.
the Virgin—' Brevier,' from Breviary, By his steam and hand-presses Mr. Canon, from the Canons of the Church Clowes is enabled at this moment to be — St. Augustin, from that Father's printing simultaneously 'Brown's folio writings having been first printed in that Bible,' Vyse's Spelling Book,' . First sized type, &c. &c. Report of St. Martin's Subscription Li- How reluctantly, however, the old brary,' Religious Tracts, Penny Cy- prejudice was parted with, even by the clopædia,' “ Penny Magazine, «The Har- classes most interested in the advancemonist' (in musical type), “The Imperial ment of the new device, may be inferred Calendar,' Booksellers' Catalogues,' from Shakspeare's transcript of the chro* Registration Reports,' 'The Christian nicle in which Jack Cade, the Radical Spectator,' Pictorial Shakspere, Hen- spouter of his day, is made to exclaim ry's folio Bible,' • Butler's Lives of the against Lord Say, Thou hast most trai. Saints,' 'Registration of Births and torously corrupted the youth of the realm Deaths,' Boothroyd's Bible,' Life and in erecting a grammar school ; and whereas, Adventures of Michael Armstrong,' 'Pa- before, our forefathers had no other books lestine, or the Holy Land,' “ The Way but the score and tally, thou hast caused to be Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise' printing to be used ; and contrary to the (300,000 copies of which 20,000 are de- king, his crown, and dignity, thou hast livered per day), "The Quarterly Re- built a paper-mill!' view,' &c.
But we must pause in our quotations, Notwithstanding the noise and novelty for the wooden clocks in the compositors' of this scene, it is impossible either to halls have just struck 'ONE,' the signal contemplate for a moment the machinery throughout the whole establishment in motion we have described, or to calcu. (which we may observe contains 340 late its produce, without being deeply im- workmen) that the welcome hour for rest pressed with the inestimable value to the and refreshment has arrived. The exhuman race of the art of printing—an art tended arm of the distributor falls as by which, in spite of the opposition it first paralysis to his side—the compositor as met with, in spite of the envious clouds suddenly lays down his stick-the corwhich seemed bent to dim its glory and rector his bodkin—the impositor abancheck its bright course,' has triumphantly dons his quoins, reglet, gutters, scalerisen above the miasmatical ignorance board, chases, shooting-sticks, side-sticks, and superstition which would willingly and his other furniture' – the wearied have smothered it.
“reader' slowly rises from his stool, his In the fifteenth century (the era of the boy, like a young kid, having already invention of the art) the brief-men or bounded from his side. The wheels of writers who lived by their manuscripts, the steam-presses abruptly cease to reseeing that their occupation was about to volve—the doctor' even becomes mobe superseded, boldly attributed the in- tionless the boys descend from the litvention to the devil, and, building on this erary pinnacles on which they had been foundation, men were warned from using stationed—the hand-presses repose—and diabolical books written by victims de. almost before the paper-men, type-foundvoted to hell.' The monks in particular ers, and other workmen can manage to were its inveterate opposers; and the lay down their work, in both Duke-street Vicar of Croydon, as if he had foreseen and Stamford-street printers' boys of vathe Reformation which it subsequently rious colours are seen either scudding effected, truly enough exclaimed in a away in all directions, or assembled in