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A part of the Rheingau mountains lying behind them in a light rather colder but more correct As Rüdesheim, is occupied by the forest of the Neiderwald. mere objects in the scenery, they are not the most It is richly wooded ; and the charming situation of attractive sort of castellated ruins;—the eternal its summit induced the former possessor to build an round tower, or "stone cylinder,” which generally edifice on it, which cost him above half a million of stands out most conspicuously, is spoken of as the florins, (about 55,5001.), and which is very much very reverse of picturesque :visited. The principal part of it is a hunting castle, There is besides a moral feeling attached to them, (to which stands at the extremity of the forest near the quote the author of a Family Tour,) that is apt to carry Rhine; its position, however, is not quite in front, so
the recollection back to those days of feudal tenure when that the view which it commands of the Rhine, murder and robbery were hardly considered as crimes ; although very romantic, is confined.
and when many an unhappy victim lingered out a miserable
existence in the cells and dungeons of these ancient ruins, The view from a small temple over the best part of the which still remain as memorials of the villainous scenes Rheingau, (says Von Gerning,) the picturesque islands of that have been transacted within their walls. A French the Rhine, and the majestic stream which spreads itself writer, however, thinks otherwise; he tells us how delighted out like a lake, and in which everything is reflected as in he feels in transporting himself in imagination to those a mirror, is altogether unique and exquisitely beautiful. remote ages of ancient chivalry-those ages, as he calls At one time we imagine ourselves by the lakes of Zurich them, of valour and virtue-in imagining himself to be and Bienne; at another by the lake of Lugano, and then surrounded by those preur chevaliers, the protectors of again we feel ourselves transported to the charming regions weakness, the defenders of a sex which knew no other of Italy, which, however, possesses no river like the Rhine. ornament but delicacy and gentility. Perhaps he would
A still more beautiful view is obtained from the have been nearer the truth, if instead of preux chevaliers summit of an old tower called the Rossel, which
he had painted these castles to his mind as the retreats of
bands of brigands. stands at the extremity of the cliff overhanging the river, and lying above the ruined castle of Ehrenfels,
This is unquestionably the less romantic, but by whence the spectator sees the Rochusburg beneath far the more correct mode of viewing the subject. him on the opposite side of the river, the winding We may be unwilling to adopt it always, because the river Nahe almost at his feet, with the town of Bru- attractions of chivalry are apt to captivate our ima. gen and its ancient ruins, and the Mausethurn or
ginations, and the blessings which we fortunately Mice-tower on its little island in the middle of the enjoy under the present system of European civiliza. Rhine. This prospect is thus described by the author tion, leave us unable to estimate the weight of sufferof Bubbles from the Brunnens of Nassau :
ings to which all peaceable persons were exposed in We ascended through a noble oak wood, until reaching speak of, themselves tell the tale of the oppression
the age when it flourished. The very ruins that we a most celebrated pinnacle of the Taunus mountains, we arrived at the Rossel, an old ruined castle, which standing to which they were made subservient; in most cases on the Niderwald, like a weather-beaten sentinel at his the lords of these ancient castles provoked their depost, seemed to be faithfully guarding the entrance of that struction by their own rapacity. Some six or seven strange mysterious chasm, through which, at an immense hundred years ago, instead of displaying their prowess depth beneath, the river was triumphantly and majestically against the Saracens and Turks abroad, they preferred flowing. Although the view from the ruined top of this
the more profitable and less perilous occupation of castle was very extensive and magnificent, yet the dark, struggling river was so remarkable an object that it at first pillaging poor merchants and peaceful towns at home; completely engrossed my attention. While the great mass
their feats in this line became at last so oppressive, of water continued to tiow on its course, a sort of civil war that a general league was formed against them among was raging between various particles of the element. In their victims. The result of it was successful; the some places an eddy seemed to be rebelliously trying to
citizens were too strong for the knights, and the stem the stream, in others the water was slowly revolving haunts of the “patrician highwaymen” were many in a circle;-here it was seen tumbling and breaking over a sunken rock-there as smooth as glass. In the middle
of thein burnt into the picturesque ruins, which, with of these fractious scenes, there lay, as it were, calmly at
a little aid from time, they still exhibit. Doubtless, anchor, two or three islands, covered with poplars and in some cases, a castle may have been erected by its willows, upon one
which stood the ruins of the Mause- master to protect the traders—or (what was somethurn, or tower of that stingy Bishop of Mainz, famous, or rather infamous, in the history of the Rhine, for having anybody but himself; but, in all probability, for
thing gained) to secure them from being pillaged by been gnawed to death by rats. On the opposite side of the river were to be seen the Rochus Capille, a tower built every one that was so built to foster the interests of to commemorate the cessation of the plague, the beautiful commerce, there were a dozen devoted to the plunder castle of Rheinstein, the residence of Prince Frederick, of the poor merchants who were engaged in carrying of Prussia, the blue slated town of Brugen, with its bridge it on. crossing the Nahe, which running at right angles into the Rhine, here delivers up its waters. The difference in cast of colour between the two rivers at their point of meeting None so little enjoy life, and are such burdens to them is very remarkable, the Rhine being clear and green, the
selves, as those who liave nothing to do. The active only Nahe a deep muddy brown; however, they no sooner enter
have the true relish of life. He who knows not what it is the chasm in the Taunus hills, than the distinction is anni
to labour, knows not what it is to enjoy. Recreation is hilated in the violent hubble-bubble commotions which only valuable as it unbends us; the idle know nothing of ensue. The view beyond these home objects now attracted
it. It is exertion that renders rest delightful, and sleer my attention.
The Prussian bills opposite were richly sweet and undisturbed. That the happiness of life depends clothed with wood, while on their left lay prostrate the
on the regular prosecution of some laudable purpose, or province of Darmstadt, a large brown flat space studded, lawful calling, which engages, helps, and enlivens all our as far as the eye could reach ; with villages, which, though powers, let those bear witness who, after spending years distinctly remarkable in the foreground, were yet scarcely
in active usefulness, retire to enjoy themselves,—they are perceptible in the perspective. Behind my back was the
a burden to themselves.—Joy. duchy of Nassau, with several old ruined castles perched on the pinnacles of the woud-covered hills of the Niderwald. To see nothing but what is good is impossible, and to say
The endless succession of ancient dilapidated castles nothing but what is good would be deceitful; but it is the which impart such “Gothic and poetical interest" part of both wisdom and charity to see all that there is,
and to say all that we can. There is a great deal of latent to the banks of the Rhine, have been generally spoken good which must be looked for before it can be found, but of by travellers with all the rapture of romantic en which is worth finding, and, therefore, worth looking for. thusiasm; but there are some writers who have viewed — Quarterly Review.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE BIBLE FROM THE this rod are manifestly borrowed from the fables of MONUMENTS OF ANTIQUITY.
the Talmud, but they are so far worthy of notice, as No. X.
they prove that a rod was considered the ensign of a
prophet or an inspired person, for they say it was THE PLAGUES OF EGYPT.
given to Moses by his father-in-law, Shoaib or Jethro, The portion of history on which we are about to whom all the traditions represent as a preacher of the enter has always been regarded of the highest im- true religion. portance. The signs and wonders which God “ multiplied in the land of Egypt," (Exod. vii. 3) were so stupendous in their nature, and decisive in their
TO character, that they have ever been the first objects of attack by the sceptic and the infidel. On this account we shall a little enlarge the scope of our illustrations, and combine with the monumental records those independent traditions of Arabia which have been preserved in the Koran and the early Saracenic histories. It has been asked, why memorials of such great events as the ten plagues have not been discovered on the Egyptian monuments ? we have anticipated a decisive answer by showing that the objects of divine vengeance were not the native Egyptians, but an intrusive race of conquerors; and this view of the case is confirmed by the Arabian writers, who declare that the Pharaoh by whom the Israelites were persecuted, was a chieftain named Walid, of the house of Amalek. There can be no doubt that the different wandering tribes of Western Asia, frequently united in their plundering expeditions into Egypt ; and whether Pharaoh the Fourth was an Amalekite or not, the fierce animosity of the Amalekites against the Israelites is in a great degree explained by the tradition that the deliverance of the latter precipitated the overthrow of the empire which the house of Amalek had established in Lower Egypt.
The narrative of the Grecian historians confirms this explanation ; they tell us that the expulsion of the Hyksos from Lower Egypt was accomplished by one of the Theban kings, but they do not explain by The figure of Ammon, a well-known Egyptian deity, what event the foreign conquerors were so weakened in the accompanying engraving, bears in the right as to become the prey of those over whom they had hand the sacred tau, supposed to have been the symbol triumphed so recently and so decisively. The only of vital energy, and in the left a rod or sceptre, such plausible reason that can be assigned for the sudden
as we may suppose Moses and the Egyptian magiprostration of the Hyksos, is the overthrow of cians to have used, especially if, as seems exceedingly Pharaoh's host in the Red Sea; after such a calamity probable, the Egyptian magicians belonged to the the intrusive conquerors must have been unable to sacerdotal caste. When Moses and Aaron appeared maintain their ground, and must have been as deci- before Pharaoh, the latter “cast down his rod before sively vanquished as the monuments represent them Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a to have been. National vanity induced the Egyptians serpent." We have already seen from the monuto suppress the fact that God's interference in behalf ments that something of a sacred character was of another people was the chief cause of their national attributed to serpents by the ancient Egyptians, and triumph; just as, in modern times, in many Russian that the first appeal made to Pharaoh was conseaccounts of the battle of Pultowa, the defeat of Charles quently the most likely to influence his decision. the Twelfth is ascribed wholly to the prowess of Peter “ Then Pharaoh called also the wise men and the the Great, and not a word is said of the intense frost
sorcerers; now the magicians of Egypt, they also which had previously destroyed the flower of the did in like manner with their enchantments.” (Exod. Swedish army.
vii. 11.) There are three different words used here to This view of the case serves also to explain another designate the Egyptian enchanters,-chakamim which objection very frequently urged by infidels, the simply signifies "wise men,” but in Scripture is usually absence in Scripture of any reference to the name confined to those who attend in royal courts; mekasheand conquests of Sesostris; but if the preceding phim, which signifies “mutterers of incantations,” reasoning be correct, that mighty victor must have and comes from a root primarily signifying “ to acquired his trophies while the Israelites were wan pray;" but this root and its derivatives is restricted dering in the desert, and necessarily removed from in Hebrew to idolatrous services; and chartummim, his line of march. It is, perhaps, no groundless con which is derived from a word signifying “engraving,” jecture, that God designedly placed his chosen people and therefore most probably means
persons skilled in sequestered security, while the Egyptian victor in hieroglyphics." The word lehatim, translated pursued his rapid career and prepared the way for "enchantments," also signifies “flames," and this we more permanent conquests.
shall see is of some importance in examining the When Moses and Aaron were sent to bear the character of the magicians. message of Jehovah to Pharaoh, each held a rod, It deserves to be remarked in the first place, that which seems to have been a symbol of priestly dignity all the eastern traditions concur in representing the among the Egyptians, as it is still among many wonders of the Egyptian magicians as pure deceporiental nations, The Arabian traditions respecting tions.. This is the express testimony of the Talmud
and the Koran. Such arts might not easily have all other streams. In most lands, the overflowing of been imposed upon a native Egyptian, but a barba a river is the signal of wide-spreading calamity, and rous foreigner like the Pharaoh of the Hyksos, might diffuses universal consternation ; the overflowing of easily have been duped by the superior skill of “ wise the Nile, on the contrary, is the announcement of men” instructed in the knowledge and arts of the fertility to all who dwell upon its banks; the rising Egyptians. When the descendants of Timúr esta of the waters is hailed by benedictions, thanksgivings, blished their empire at Delhi, they were similarly and songs of triumph; even the slave bowed down dazzled by the tricks of the Hindú conjurors. The by toil, and the Fellah sinking under oppression, Emperor Jehangueir informs us, that even his father, share the general joy, and for a day forget the cruelthe enlightened Akbar, consulted some of these sooth- ties of man in contemplating the bounties of nature. sayers before setting out on an expedition, and found The ancient Egyptians ascribed a divine origin to the their predictions verified by the event. He also gives river, believing it an emanation from Knouph, or us the particulars of an exhibition in his own court | Cneph, whom they regarded as the father of the gods ; by some jugglers from Bengal, which far surpasses and on one of the monuments, that deity is depicted that of the Egyptian sorcerers in the court of Pharaoh. pouring forth water from a vase, as a type of the inThe following extracts from the emperor's auto- undations which were to fertilize the land. Even at biography, cannot fail to interest the reader.
the present day, many of the native Egyptians, both They (the jugglers) took a small bag, and having first Christian and Mohammedan, believe that the Nile shown that it was entirely empty, one of them put his hand flows from the terrestrial paradise, while others into the bag; on withdrawing his hand again, out came think that it is a copy of a celestial Nile which flows two game cocks of the largest size and great beauty, which through the mansions of the blessed. immediately assailing each other, fought with such force The waters of the river are supposed to be pecuand fury that their wings emitted fire at every stroke. liarly wholesome and sweet ; indeed, the Turks freThis continued for the full space of an astronomical hour, when they put an end to the combat by throwing a sheet | quently stimulate themselves to artificial thirst by over the animals. Again they withdrew the sheet, and eating salt, in order that they may drink the more of there appeared a brace of partridges with the most beautiful this delicious beverage. All travellers, ancient and and brilliant plumage, which immediately began to tune modern, unite in praising the water ; it is even astheir throats as if there were nothing human present; serted by some, that it has valuable medicinal qualipecking at worms with the same sort of chuckle as they are heard to use on the hill side. The sheet was now thrown, ties, and that the cattle which drink of it become as in the other instance, over the partridges, and when again
more fat and more fruitful than those fed on the withdrawn, instead of those beautiful birds, there appeared banks of any other river. A river so justly valued two frightful black snakes with flat heads and crimson and even revered as a divinity, was now rendered an bellies, which with open mouth and head erect, and coiled object of disgust and abhorrence; it is therefore imtogether, attacked each other with the greatest fury, and so possible to conceive a miracle more striking or more continued to do, until, as it appeared, they became quite likely to effect the purpose for which it was designed. exhausted, when they fell asunder. The sheet was thrown over as before, and when finally withdrawn, there appeared not a vestige of the snakes nor of anything else. One of the seven men stood up before me (says the em
ON WRITING MATERIALS. peror,) and setting open his mouth, out came the head of a snake. Another of the men seized the snake and drew it
No. III. out by the neck to the length of four cubits. This being THE HISTORY OF A BLACK-LEAD PENCIL. disposed of by casting it to the ground, another followed in There are probably but few of our readers who the same manner, and so on to the number of eight, none of them being less than four or five cubits in length. These imagine, while using a black-lead pencil, that that being all cast loose upon the ground, were immediately useful little instrument is, and long has been, a source seen writhing in the folds of each other, and tearing one
of much wealth to some of our countrymen. Such, another with the greatest fury; a spectacle not less strange however, is the case; for nearly three hundred years, than frightful.
the black lead (the essential part of a black-lead It would be no difficult matter to collect numerous pencil,) has been derived from our own mineral treaanecdotes of the wonders performed by the conjurors sures in a state of greater purity, and in more and snake-charmers of the East; some of which even abundant supply than in any other part of the world. now puzzle enlightened Europeans, and consequently It is a remarkable circumstance in the mineralogical may well have deceived such a prince as the fourth history of our globe, that almost every substance Pharaoh. But the miracle wrought by Moses was which is useful to man, appears to have some partiuncontrovertibly proved to be supernatural, for cular locale in which it is found more abundantly Aaron's rod swallowed up the rods of the magicians. than at any other spot. This locality, therefore,
Untaught by this unequivocal manifestation of the becomes the mart from which other nations are supDivine power, the wicked ruler of Egypt refused to plied; until at length, a new deposit, or a new mine, let the Israelites depart, and the first plague was is discovered in another place, and draws away, and inflicted both as a chastisement and a warning: often with ruinous effect, the traffic from the before
And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; favoured spot. Black lead, for instance, has been and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in found in many parts of the world, in a state of greater the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were
or less purity; but when the celebrated Borrow
dale mine*, in Cumberland, was discovered, the turned to blood. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of others shrunk into insignificance, and the “
crayons the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all d'Angleterre” have become the standard of excelthe land of Egypt. (Exod. vii. 20, 21.)
lence all over the Continent. It has lately been stated The most striking monument of the severity of in an American scientific work, that a black-lead this plague is the river itself. From the earliest mine was worked in Massachusets by the French ages the Nile has been the great source of support to residents about a century ago ; but it was long abanthe inhabitants of Egypt; by its overflowings the doned, and has only recently been prosecuted, but land is fertilized ; in every season its bed is nearly with such success that it promises to yield a very full, and its inundations occur at the period of the abundant supply. year when the heat of a scorching sun has dried up
• See Saturday Magazine, Vol. i., p. 24.
In order to give a tolerably complete history of A few particulars concerning this mine were given a black-lead pencil, we will first describe the mate- by Campbell, in his Political History of Great rials used, and then the process of manufacture. Britain, about fifty or sixty years ago. He says,-In the first place we must state, that black-lead The mine before mentioned is private property, is opened pencil is altogether a misnomer, there being not a but once in seven years, and the quantity known to be particle of lead in the manufacture. The marking equal to the consumption in that space sold at once; and material is plumbago, or graphite, a compound of
as it is used without any preparation, it is more valuable carbon and iron, in the proportion of nine parts of than the ore of any metal found in this island. But there
is nothing improbable, and much less impossible, in supcarbon to one of iron. This mineral is of a dark posing that other, and it may be many other, uses will be iron-black colour, passing into steel gray. It occurs discovered in medicine, painting, dyeing, varnishing, or in a massy form, in kidney-shaped lumps, varying from pottery, which would certainly contribute to raise the value the size of a pea to much larger lumps, and is found of a mineral peculiar to this country, and with the nature in beds of quartz, and in masses of calcareous earth. of which, though so long in our possession, we are still so It has a glistening metallic lustre, and the fracture pre
imperfectly acquainted. sents a texture somewhat between scaly and granular.
Some part of this surmise has been realized since The large masses are slaty in their appearance, and Mr. Campbell's days, and it may all be so. By far occur generally in distinct concretions. It takes a con the best account of this mine which we have met siderable polish by rubbing, and, as is well known, gives with is that of Mr. Parkes, who visited it in 1814. a dark lead-gray streak when drawn along paper or
There are two entrances to the mine,-a small one by wood. It is unctuous to the feel and not very brittle, which the workmen descend by means of a flight of steps, and about twice as heavy as its own bulk of water.
and the other is a large horizontal one, capable of admit
ting hand-carts and wheel-barrows for the removal of the The large quantity of carbon which it contains, ren
rubbish and loose earth by which the black lead is enveders it peculiarly fitted to the purposes of the chemist, loped, and through this entrance the water passes off which in the form of crucibles, as it will bear an intense heat. constantly runs through the mine. The other purposes to which it is applied, are to In order to secure the vast treasure which is contained relieve friction in the axes and pivots of wheels. Its within this mountain, the proprietors have now erected a power this way may be illustrated by rubbing a button strong, brick buiiding, consisting of four rooms on the first on a plain board, five or six times, and applying | by which the work men enter the mine as they go to their
ground floor, one of which is immediately over the opening it to a bit of phosphorus, the latter will immediately work. This opening is secured by a trap door, and the burn. When rubbed on a surface covered with plum- room conected with it is called the dressing room, for when bago, double or treble the friction will be required to the men enter it, they strip off their usual clothes, and produce the same effect. Plumbago is also used to each of them puts on a dress suitable for working in a give a polish to shot and gunpowder, to give a pre- relieved by others.
mine. The men work six hours each, and then they are servative coating to cast iron, and to mix with clay to
As the black lead is cleaned, it is put into firm casks form a lining for furnaces. At North Carolina which hold about one hundred and twelve pounds each, shingles are coated with a mixture of black lead and and these are sent by waggon to the warehouse of the oil, which is said to be an excellent preservation proprietors in London. Formerly, this mine was opened against fire. For all these latter purposes, however, but once in seven years : but in consequence of the demand coarse and impure black lead is employed.
being greater, and the quantity which they have discovered Borrowdale, to which we have alluded, is situated and dig for ore during six or seven weeks every year.
not being so large, it has been found expedient to open it in the heart of the lake district of Cumberland, a During this time the mine is guarded night and day. district which, for natural scenery and for poetic asso In consequence of the mines having been opened in ciation, connected with the eminent men who have late years every Summer, they now raise all the black lived, and still live there, is a favourite spot with lead they find, and then the mine is securely shut in the English tourists. In the reign of Elizabeth there was
following manner:- The workmen wheel back the rubbish a mine of copper and lead in the immediate vicinity, this is laid on in a continued heap, to the amount of some
which had been removed at the opening of the mine, and which was worked by some Germans ; but on finding hundred cart loads, which securely blocks up both the some small veins of gold and silver in the mine, a passages into the mine. The door is then locked as well contest arose with the crown as to who should pos. as the door into the house, and all the men thus leave the sess the precious metals; Elizabeth gained the contest, premises in a state of safety; for the mass of rubbish and the Germans soon afterwards left the country.
which is thus wheeled in at the large door, dams up the
small rill of water which usually flows through the mine, About that period, however, the Borrowdale blacklead mine was discovered, and soon drew attention to
and thus has the effect of flooding it completely: Thus, if
an attempt were made to break the house and enter the its valuable contents. Its celebrity gradually in- mine by that road, the robbers would find that the water creased, and with it an extensive system of purloin- had risen to such a height as would drown any individual ing. Sometimes the workmen in a neighbouring who should attempt to search for the ore. mine would cut through into the black-lead mine and Our readers may be surprised at the extreme caucarry off quantities of the contents. At another time tion displayed in every part of these processes, as a party of miners overcame a guard placed at the described by Mr. Parkes, to prevent purloining, &c., entrance of the mine, and kept possession of the but this surprise will cease when we recollect the whole place for several days. An Act of Parliament value of the ore; the market price of the best black was obtained in the last century, inflicting severe lead being nearly half the price of pure silver, about penalties on all depredators, and since then an im- two guineas per pound. Various shafts are excaproved mode of protection has been devised. vated in this mine, some of which appear to be ex
The mountain which contains this valuable mine, hausted, which occasions a search for new veins in is situated at a few miles from Keswick, and is about other directions. One mass was discovered in 1803, 2000 feet high. The entrance to the mine is about measuring twenty-one yards and a half in length, 1000 feet from the level of the ground, from which and two and a half in diameter. spot there is an excavated cavity, extending 660 feet The property of this mine is shared between a horizontally into the body of the mountain ; this a few individuals, and to show its great value, Mr. passage has a railway laid along its whole length, and Parkes states that in sixteen years, from 1798 to is used to convey the ore from the bowels of the 1814, 2552 casks, of one hundred and twelve pounds mountain to the entrance
each, were procured from this mine : of which 736
were fine, and 1816 coarse. This we shall find to , of composition. A thousand persons are now engive an average, one year with another, of 17,864 lbs.; gaged in the manufacture of these pencils and cases. indeed, the nett profits have been known to be be To return to the cedar pencils :-One edge of a tween 20 and 30,0001. in one year. The reason why slice of plumbago being made straight and even, it is this mine is so particularly valuable, is to be found dipped in glue, and inserted into the groove cut in in the circumstance that the ore requires scarcely the thicker half of the cedar stick. With a sharp any labour to fit it for the market, it being originally tool a cut is made on each surface of the slice, close almost in a pure state.
to the wood, and the piece can then be broken off, Perhaps one of the most remarkable circumstances leaving a little prism of lead in the groove. The connected with plumbago is the mode in which it is straight edge of the slice is again dipped in glue, and sold. After the quantity necessary for supplying the inserted at the end of the first piece, and again cut market during the ensuing year is extracted from the off, till the whole length of the groove is filled. The mine, and the latter closed up, the product is carried surface of the wood is then smoothed down level, in small fragments of about three or four inches and the other half is glued on, thus making a square long, to London, where it is exposed for sale at the black-lead pencil. black-lead market, which is held on the first Monday The square pencil is brought into the cylindrical of every month, at a public house in Essex Street, form by passing it through a hole in an iron or steel Strand. The buyers, who amount to about seven or puppet of the exact size of the pencil, and forced eight individuals, examine every piece with a sharp along by the workman. On the other side of this instrument to ascertain its hardness, those which are puppet is a revolving apparatus, which cuts the too soft being rejected. The individual who has the pencil round; it consists of two guages and a small first choice pays forty-five shillings per pound, the plane iron, revolving round an open centre. Beyond others thirty shillings. But as there is no addition this is a cylindrical hole in a steel plate; as soon, made to the first quantity in the market during the therefore, as the first edge of the pencil is cut round, course of the year, the residual portions are examined it is forced into this circular hole, and before the over and over again, until they are exhausted. workman has lost the means of pushing it forward
Thus much for the black lead. The wooden case at the end that is square, the cylindrical end is pushed or exterior of black-lead peneils is usually made of through the circular hole, so as to enable him to cedar. Of cedar-trees there are many varieties, but seize it with a pair of wooden nippers. It is thus the red cedar used for pencils is the Virginian cedar, pushed and drawn entirely through, and comes out (Juniperus Virginiana,) of North America.
cylindrical and polished, for the hole being a little To prepare the cedar for the pencils, it is cut by a smaller than the pencil, the latter is compressed in circular saw into four-sided strips of a proper length, the act of passing through. and are so arranged as to thickness that two of them The pencils usually hawked about the streets of together form a square of which one piece is thicker London are made with the powder of black lead, than the other, so as to admit the groove cut to mixed with melted sulphur, and then poured into receive the lead, to be confined to one piece only~ | moulds, which are frequently reeds or rushes. Comthis groove being made by a common plough plane. mon carpenter's pencils are formed in this way, and
The lumps of plumbago are cut into slices about answer well enough for the purposes to which they the thickness of a shilling, by a thin circular saw ; are applied. This mode, however, relates to those the slices being of various sizes, from one to two common pencils in which the lead (so called) is uninches long, and varying in breadth.
usually thick; but the most successful attempt at In preparing the cylindrical leads for the "patent" deception is where the pencil has all the outward pencil cases, for which Mr. Mordan took out a patent, form and semblance of being well made, but where the plumbago slices are cut into square prisms a a process of anatomization shows the purchaser that little larger than are ultimately required; and these the amount of black lead is marvellously small, the prisms are brought to the desired cylindrical form by central part of the groove being filled with a different a gradual process of change, produced by an inge- substance. In common pencils, gum-arabic and resin nious contrivance. A series of three different sized are often mixed with the plumbago. circular holes are cut in pieces of ruby; the first of Genuine cedar pencils must cost at least sixpence which is of such a size as to convert the square prism each. Pencils of a spurious kind are, however, sold of black lead into an eight-sided prism, by cutting as low as 44d. per dozen. The melting or softening off the sharp edge: this cight-sided prism is then of the lead when held in a candle, or applied to a converted into one of sixteen sides, by thrusting it red-hot iron, and yielding a blueish flame with a through the next smaller hole: and lastly, the cylin- strong smell like that of burning sulphur, will at drical form is given by the third hole which is just once detect the nature of their composition. Pencils the size required. The manner of thrusting out the so made are of a very bad kind; they are hard, lead in a “Mordan's" pencil-case with a little pin brittle, and do not cut or make a mark freely, either inside, will give a good idea of the action of the wire on paper or on wood, rather cutting or scratching and tube in the above process.
them than leaving a coloured stroke. The rubies are worn out in three or four days. Drawing pencils are distinguished by the hardness Steel does not last above as many hours. So that or softness of the selected specimens of plumbago the ever-pointed pencils are necessarily costly, six of from which they are manufactured, and, accordingly, them being sold for 2s. 6d. If they are cheaper than those made from the hard mineral, have H or HH this we may be sure that they are adulterated. In stamped upon the cedar, and those of a soft or very Paris, when you buy a sheet of paper in a stationer's soft nature are distinguished by B or B B, technically, shop, some of these pencils are added to the purchase. however, B and double B, as in the former case H Now these are formed of a mixture of plumbago, and double II. fuller's earth, and vermicelli.
Black-lead pencils appear to have been known for There is no patent which has been more infringed nearly two centuries, for a writer of about 200 years on than that of Mordan's, for ever-pointed pencils. ago, says,—" Of late black lead is curiously formed Biriningham is the source of this infringement, where into cases of deal or cedar, and so sold as dry pencils they are sold as low as three farthings each, formed something more useful than pen and ink.”