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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 Careyes 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 b, &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 the types afresh, than to disturb his work piecemeal, by the quantity of codicils and alterations which a vain, vacillating, crotchety writer has required.
As the compositor receives nothing for curing his own mistakes, they form the self-correcting punishment of his offence. The operation is the most disagreeable, 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 imposing; 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 of the child's voice cease to flow than the machinery of the man's mind ceases to work ;-something has evidently gone wrong!-he accordingly at once raises his weary head, and a slight sigh, with one passage of the hand across his brow, is generally sufficient to enable him to receive the intruder with mildness and attention.
We have already observed that while 'the reader' is seated in his cell, there stands beside him a small intelligent boy, who is in fact, the reader; that is to say, he reads aloud from the copy, while the man pores upon and corrects the corresponding print. This child, for such he is in comparison with the age of the master he serves, cannot be expected to take 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, which he has never learned, and which therefore he is thus most ludicrously pro
In a large printing establishment, the real interest of which is to increase the healthy 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 absolutely necessary that the readers' 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
Less ducks knee sonte pass,' &c. &c. &c. i.e. (Les ducs ne sont pas,) &c.
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 his imprimatur on the labours of the compositor, the chases containing the type are securely fixed, and they are then carried to the press-room, to which, with them, we will now proceed.
When iron first began to be substituted in our navy for purposes for which it had hitherto been deemed to be totally inap. plicable, it is said that an honest sailor, gravely turning his quid, observed to his 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 not get entangled in the process, and against his inclination, as authors generally say in their prefaces, go to press.'
We will not weary our reader by attempting a minute delineation of the wonderful picture before him, or even introduce to his notice the intelligent engineer, who, in a building apart from the machinery, is in solitude regulating the clean, well-kept, noiseless steam-engine which gives it motion; we will merely describe the literary process.
Every time the lower bed has moved, this boy places on the upper cylinder a sheet of paper, which is ingeniously confined to its station by being slipped under two strings of tape. It is, however, no sooner affixed there, than by a turn of the engine, revolving with the cylinder, it is flatly deposited on the first of the 'forms,' which, by the process we have described, has been ready inked to receive it: it is there instantaneously pressed, is then caught up by the other cylinder, and, after 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, and piles it on a heap by his side.
By virtue of this beautiful process, a sheet of paper, by two revolutions of the engine, with the assistance only of two boys, is imprinted on both sides, with not only, say sixteen pages of letter-press, but, with the various wood-cuts which they contain. Excepting an hour's intermission, the engines, like the boys, are at regular work from eight A. M. till eight P. M., besides night-work, when it is required. Each steam-press is capable of printing 1000 sheets an hour.
By the power of machinery these types, at every throb of the engine, are made horizontally to advance and retire. At every such movement they are met half way by seven advancing black rollers, which diagonally pass over them, and thus, by a most beautiful process, impart to them ink sufficient only for a single impression. As quickly as the types recede, the seven rollers revolve backwards till they come in contact with another large roller of kindred complexion termed 'the doctor,' which supplies them with ink, which he, 'the doctor,' himself receives from a dense mass of ink, which by the constant revolution of Esculapius assumes also the appearance of a roller.
The apartments above the machinery we have described contain no less than twenty-three common or hand-presses of various constructions; besides which, in
each of the compositors' rooms there is what is termed a proof-press. Each of these twenty-three presses is attended by two pressmen, one of whom inks the form, by means of a roller, whilst the other lays and takes off the paper very nearly as fast as he can change it, and by a strong gymnastic exertion, affording a striking feature of variety of attitude, imparts to it a pressure of from a ton to a ton and a half, the pressure depending upon the size and lightness of the form; this operation being performed by the two men, turn and turn about.
sermon preached by him at St. Paul's Cross, We must root out printing, or printing will root us out!' Nevertheless, the men of the old school were soon compelled to adopt the novelty thus hateful: in fact, many of the present names of our type have been derived from their having been first employed in the printing of Romish prayers: for instance, 'Pica,' from the service of the Mass, termed Pica or Pie, from the glaring contrast between the black and white on its page-' Primer,' from Primarius, the book of prayers to the Virgin Brevier,' from Breviary,Canon,' from the Canons of the Church Augustin,' from that Father's writings having been first printed in that sized type, &c. &c.
By his steam and hand-presses Mr. Clowes is enabled at this moment to be St. C printing simultaneously 'Brown's folio Bible,' 'Vyse's Spelling Book,' First 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 traiSaints, 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. Notwithstanding the noise and novelty of this scene, it is impossible either to contemplate for a moment the machinery in motion we have described, or to calculate its produce, without being deeply impressed with the inestimable value to the human race of the art of printing-an art which, in spite of the opposition it first met with, in spite of the envious clouds which seemed bent to dim its glory and check its bright course,' has triumphantly risen above the miasmatical ignorance and superstition which would willingly have smothered it.
But we must pause in our quotations, for the wooden clocks in the compositors' halls have just struck 'ONE,' the signal throughout the whole establishment (which we may observe contains 340 workmen) that the welcome hour for rest and refreshment has arrived. The extended arm of the distributor falls as by paralysis to his side-the compositor as suddenly lays down his stick-the corrector his bodkin-the impositor abandons his quoins, reglet, gutters, scaleboard, chases, shooting-sticks, side-sticks, and his other furniture' - the wearied 'reader' slowly rises from his stool, his boy, like a young kid, having already bounded from his side. The wheels of the steam-presses abruptly cease to revolve-the 'doctor' even becomes motionless-the boys descend from the literary pinnacles on which they had been stationed-the hand-presses repose-and almost before the paper-men, type-founders, and other workmen can manage to lay down their work, in both Duke-street
In the fifteenth century (the era of the invention of the art) the brief-men or writers who lived by their manuscripts, seeing that their occupation was about to be superseded, boldly attributed the invention to the devil, and, building on this foundation, men were warned from using diabolical books written by victims devoted to hell.' The monks in particular were its inveterate opposers; and the 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