In the list, No. The old fellow was something of a herald, and drew in his books what he held to be his coat. After his death, all that could be stuffed into a large chest were put away in a garret; but a few favourites, and the 'Boke' among them remained on the kitchen shelves for years, till his son's widow grew so 'stalled' of dusting them that she determined to sell them.
Had she been in poverty, I should have urged the buyer, Stark, the duty of giving her a small sum out of his great gains. Such chances as this do not fall to a man's lot twice; but Edmond Werdet relates a story very similar indeed, and where also the "plums" fell into the lap of a London dealer. In , the Recollet Monks of Antwerp, wishing to make a reform, examined their library, and determined to get rid of about 1, volumes—some manuscript and some printed, but all of which they considered as old rubbish of no value.
At first they were thrown into the gardener's rooms; but, after some months, they decided in their wisdom to give the whole refuse to the gardener as a recognition of his long services. This man, wiser in his generation than these simple fathers, took the lot to M. Vanderberg, an amateur and man of education. Vanderberg took a cursory view, and then offered to buy them by weight at sixpence per pound. The bargain was at once concluded, and M. Vanderberg had the books.
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Shortly after, Mr. Stark, a well-known London bookseller, being in Antwerp, called on M. Vanderberg, and was shown the books. He at once offered 14, francs for them, which was accepted. Imagine the surprise and chagrin of the poor monks when they heard of it!
They knew they had no remedy, and so dumbfounded were they by their own ignorance, that they humbly requested M. Vanderberg to relieve their minds by returning some portion of his large gains. He gave them 1, francs. The great Shakespearian and other discoveries, which were found in a garret at Lamport Hall in by Mr. Edmonds, are too well-known and too recent to need description.
In this case mere chance seems to have led to the preservation of works, the very existence of which set the ears of all lovers of Shakespeare a-tingling. In the summer of , a gentleman with whom I was well acquainted took lodgings in Preston Street, Brighton. The morning after his arrival, he found in the w. He asked permission to retain them, and enquired if there were any more where they came from. Two or three other fragments were found, and the landlady stated that her father, who was fond of antiquities, had at one time a chest full of old black-letter books; that, upon his death, they were preserved till she was tired of seeing them, and then, supposing them of no value, she had used them for waste; that for two years and a-half they had served for various household purposes, but she had just come to the end of them.
The fragments preserved, and now in my possession, are a goodly portion of one of the most rare books from the press of Wynkyn de Worde, Caxton's successor. The title is a curious woodcut with the words "Gesta Romanorum" engraved in an odd-shaped black letter. It has also numerous rude wood-cuts throughout. It was from this very work that Shakespeare in all probability derived the story of the three caskets which in "The Merchant of Venice" forms so integral a portion of the plot. Only think of that cloaca being supplied daily with such dainty bibliographical treasures! In the Lansdowne Collection at the British Museum is a volume containing three manuscript dramas of Queen Elizabeth's time, and on a fly-leaf is a list of fifty-eight plays, with this note at the foot, in the handwriting of the well-known antiquary, Warburton:.
Some of these "Playes" are preserved in print, but others are quite unknown and perished for ever when used as "pye-bottoms. It is 'liber rarissimus. On one fine summer afternoon in it was brought to me by a tradesman living at Lamberhurst. Many of the leaves had been cut into squares, and the whole had been rescued from a tobacconist's shop, where the pieces were being used to wrap up tobacco and snuff. The owner wanted to buy a new silk gown for his wife, and was delighted with three guineas for this purpose.
You will notice how cleverly the British Museum binder has joined the leaves, making it, although still imperfect, a fine book. I wrote to the custodian of it, and asked him kindly to do the search for me, and if he was unable to read the names to get some one who understood the writing of that date to decipher the entries for me. I did not have a reply for a fortnight, but one morning the postman brought me a very large unregistered book-packet, which I found to be the original Parish Registers!
He, however, addressed a note with it stating that he thought it best to send me the document itself to look at, and begged me to be good enough to return the Register to him as soon as done with. He evidently wished to serve me—his ignorance of responsibility without doubt proving his kindly disposition, and on that account alone I forbear to name him; but I can assure you I was heartily glad to have a letter from him in due time announcing that the precious documents were once more locked up in the parish chest.
Certainly, I think such as he to be 'Enemies of books. Bigotry has also many sins to answer for. The late M. Muller, of Amsterdam, a bookseller of European fame, wrote to me as follows a few weeks before his death:—. Now I think the best thing I can do is to give you somewhat of my experience. You say that the discovery of printing has made the destruction of anybody's books difficult. At this I am bound to say that the Inquisition did succeed most successfully, by burning heretical books, in destroying numerous volumes invaluable for their wholesome contents.
Indeed, I beg to state to you the amazing fact that here in Holland exists an Ultramontane Society called 'Old Paper,' which is under the sanction of the six Catholic Bishops of the Netherlands, and is spread over the whole kingdom. The openly-avowed object of this Society is to buy up and to destroy as waste paper all the Protestant and Liberal Catholic newspapers, pamphlets and books, the price of which is offered to the Pope as 'Deniers de St.
I need not tell you that this work is strongly promoted by the Catholic clergy. You can have no idea of the difficulty we now have in procuring certain books published but 30, 40, or 50 years ago of an ephemeral character. Historical and theological books are very rare; novels and poetry of that period are absolutely not to be found; medical and law books are more common.
I am bound to say that in no country have more books been printed and more destroyed than in Holland. The policy of buying up all objectionable literature seems to me, I confess, very short-sighted, and in most cases would lead to a greatly increased reprint; it certainly would in these latitudes. Smith, the Brighton bookseller, gives evidence thus:—. I have had painful experience of the fact in the following manner.
Numbers of volumes in their libraries have had a few leaves removed, and in many others whole sections torn out. I suppose it served their purpose thus to use the wisdom of greater men and that they thus economised their own time by tearing out portions to suit their purpose. The hardship to the trade is this: their books are purchased in good faith as perfect, and when resold the buyer is quick to claim damage if found defective, while the seller has no redress.
Among the careless destroyers of books still at work should be classed Government officials.
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Cart-loads of interesting documents, bound and unbound, have been sold at various times as waste-paper, 1 when modern red-tape thought them but rubbish. Some of them have been rescued and resold at high prices, but some have been lost for ever. In a very interesting series of blue books was commenced by the authorities of the Patent Office, of course paid for out of the national purse.
Beginning with the year the particulars of every important patent were printed from the original specifications and fac-simile drawings made, where necessary, for the elucidation of the text. A very moderate price was charged for each, only indeed the prime cost of production. The general public, of course, cared little for such literature, but those interested in the origin and progress of any particular art, cared much, and many sets of Patents were purchased by those engaged in research.
But the great bulk of the stock was, to some extent, inconvenient, and so when a removal to other offices, in , became necessary, the question arose as to what could be done with them. These blue-books, which had cost the nation many thousands of pounds, were positively sold to the paper mills as wastepaper, and nearly tons weight were carted away at about L3 per ton. It is difficult to believe, although positively true, that so great an act of vandalism could have been perpetrated, even in a Government office. It is true that no demand existed for some of them, but it is equally true that in numerous cases, especially in the early specifications of the steam engine and printing machine, the want of them has caused great disappointment.
To add a climax to the story, many of the "pulped" specifications have had to be reprinted more than once since their destruction. A most destructive Enemy of books has been the bookworm. I say "has been," because, fortunately, his ravages in all civilised countries have been greatly restricted during the last fifty years.
This is due partly to the increased reverence for antiquity which has been universally developed—more still to the feeling of cupidity, which has caused all owners to take care of volumes which year by year have become more valuable—and, to some considerable extent, to the falling off in the production of edible books. The monks, who were the chief makers as well as the custodians of books, through the long ages we call "dark," because so little is known of them, had no fear of the bookworm before their eyes, for, ravenous as he is and was, he loves not parchment, and at that time paper was not.
Whether at a still earlier period he attacked the papyrus, the paper of the Egyptians, I know not—probably he did, as it was a purely vegetable substance; and if so, it is quite possible that the worm of to-day, in such evil repute with us, is the lineal descendant of ravenous ancestors who plagued the sacred Priests of On in the time of Joseph's Pharaoh, by destroying their title deeds and their books of Science. Rare things and precious, as manuscripts were before the invention of typography, are well preserved, but when the printing press was invented and paper books were multiplied in the earth; when libraries increased and readers were many, then familiarity bred contempt; books were packed in out-of-the-way places and neglected, and the oft-quoted, though seldom seen, bookworm became an acknowledged tenant of the library, and the mortal enemy of the bibliophile.
Anathemas have been hurled against this pest in nearly every European language, old and new, and classical scholars of bye-gone centuries have thrown their spondees and dactyls at him. Pierre Petit, in , devoted a long Latin poem to his dis-praise, and Parnell's charming Ode is well known. Hear the poet lament:—. But, as a portrait commonly precedes a biography, the curious reader may wish to be told what this "Bestia audax," who so greatly ruffles the tempers of our eclectics, is like.
Here, at starting, is a serious chameleon-like difficulty, for the bookworm offers to us, if we are guided by their words, as many varieties of size and shape as there are beholders. Sylvester, in his "Laws of Verse," with more words than wit, described him as "a microscopic creature wriggling on the learned page, which, when discovered, stiffens out into the resemblance of a streak of dirt. The earliest notice is in "Micrographia," by R. Hooke, folio, London, This work, which was printed at the expense of the Royal Society of London, is an account of innumerable things examined by the author under the microscope, and is most interesting for the frequent accuracy of the author's observations, and most amusing for his equally frequent blunders.
In his account of the bookworm, his remarks, which are rather long and very minute, are absurdly blundering. He calls it "a small white Silver-shining Worm or Moth, which I found much conversant among books and papers, and is supposed to be that which corrodes and eats holes thro' the leaves and covers.
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Its head appears bigg and blunt, and its body tapers from it towards the tail, smaller and smaller, being shap'd almost like a carret It has two long horns before, which are streight, and tapering towards the top, curiously ring'd or knobb'd and brisled much like the marsh weed called Horses tail The hinder part is terminated with three tails, in every particular resembling the two longer horns that grow out of the head.
The legs are scal'd and hair'd. This animal probably feeds upon the paper and covers of books, and perforates in them several small round holes, finding perhaps a convenient nourishment in those husks of hemp and flax, which have passed through so many scourings, washings, dressings, and dryings as the parts of old paper necessarily have suffer'd.
And, indeed, when I consider what a heap of sawdust or chips this little creature which is one of the teeth of Time conveys into its intrals, I cannot chuse but remember and admire the excellent contrivance of Nature in placing in animals such a fire, as is continually nourished and supply'd by the materials convey'd into the stomach and fomented by the bellows of the lungs. Certainly R. Hooke, Fellow of the Royal Society, drew somewhat upon his imagination here, having apparently evolved both engraving and description from his inner consciousness.
Entomologists even do not appear to have paid much attention to the natural history of the "Worm. As already quoted, Doraston's description is very vague. To him he is in one verse "a sort of busy worm," and in another "a puny rankling reptile. Gatty, in her Parables, christens it "Hypothenemus cruditus. The, Rev. Havergal, who many years ago had much trouble with bookworms in the Cathedral Library of Hereford, says they are a kind of death-watch, with a "hard outer skin, and are dark brown," another sort "having white bodies with brown spots on their heads.
Holme, in "Notes and Queries" for , states that the "Anobium paniceum" has done considerable injury to the Arabic manuscripts brought from Cairo, by Burckhardt, and now in the University Library, Cambridge. Other writers say "Acarus eruditus" or "Anobium pertinax" are the correct scientific names. Personally, I have come across but few specimens; nevertheless, from what I have been told by librarians, and judging from analogy, I imagine the following to be about the truth:—. There are several kinds of caterpillar and grub, which eat into books, those with legs are the larvae of moths; those without legs, or rather with rudimentary legs, are grubs and turn to beetles.
It is not known whether any species of caterpillar or grub can live generation after generation upon books alone, but several sorts of wood-borers, and others which live upon vegetable refuse, will attack paper, especially if attracted in the first place by the real wooden boards in which it was the custom of the old book-binders to clothe their volumes.
In this belief, some country librarians object to opening the library windows lest the enemy should fly in from the neighbouring woods, and rear a brood of worms. Anyone, indeed, who has seen a hole in a filbert, or a piece of wood riddled by dry rot, will recognize a similarity of appearance in the channels made by these insect enemies.
The "Anobium. They feed on old dry wood, and often infest bookcases and shelves. They eat the wooden boards of old books, and so pass into the paper where they make long holes quite round, except when they work in a slanting direction, when the holes appear to be oblong. They will thus pierce through several volumes in succession, Peignot, the well-known bibliographer, having found 27 volumes so pierced in a straight line by one worm, a miracle of gluttony, the story of which, for myself, I receive " cum grano salis.
It is a caterpillar, with six legs upon its thorax and eight sucker-like protuberances on its body, like a silk-worm. It changes into a chrysalis, and then assumes its perfect shape as a small brown moth. The species that attacks books is the OEcophora pseudospretella.
It loves damp and warmth, and eats any fibrous material. This caterpillar is quite unlike any garden species, and, excepting the legs, is very similar in appearance and size to the Anobium. It is about half-inch long, with a horny head and strong jaws. To printers' ink or writing ink he appears to have no great dislike, though I imagine that the former often disagrees with his health, unless he is very robust, as in books where the print is pierced a majority of the worm-holes I have seen are too short in extent to have provided food enough for the development of the grub.
But, although the ink may be unwholesome, many grubs survive, and, eating day and night in silence and darkness, work out their destiny leaving, according to the strength of their constitutions, a longer or shorter tunnel in the volume. In December, , Mr. Birdsall, a well-known book-binder of Northampton, kindly sent me by post a fat little Worm, which had been found by one of his workmen in an old book while being bound. He bore his journey extremely well, being very lively when turned out.
I placed him in a box in warmth and quiet, with some small fragments of paper from a Boethius, printed by Caxton, and a leaf of a seventeenth century book. He ate a small piece of the leaf, but either from too much fresh air, from unaccustomed liberty, or from change of food, he gradually weakened, and died in about three weeks. I was sorry to lose him, as I wished to verify his name in his perfect state. Waterhouse, of the Entomological department of the British Museum, very kindly examined him before death, and was of opinion he was OEcophora pseudospretella. In July, , Dr.
Garnett, of the British Museum, gave me two worms which had been found in an old Hebrew Commentary just received from Athens. They had doubtless had a good shaking on the journey, and one was moribund when I took charge, and joined his defunct kindred in a few days.
The other seemed hearty and lived with me for nearly eighteen months. I treated him as well as I knew how; placed him in a small box with the choice of three sorts of old paper to eat, and very seldom disturbed him. He evidently resented his confinement, ate very little, moved very little, and changed in appearance very little, even when dead. This Greek worm, filled with Hebrew lore, differed in many respects from any other I have seen. He was longer, thinner, and more delicate looking than any of his English congeners.
He was transparent, like thin ivory, and had a dark line through his body, which I took to be the intestinal canal. He resigned his life with extreme procrastination, and died "deeply lamented" by his keeper, who had long looked forward to his final development. The difficulty of breeding these worms is probably due to their formation. When in a state of nature they can by expansion and contraction of the body working upon the sides of their holes, push their horny jaws against the opposing mass of paper. But when freed from the restraint, which indeed to them is life, they CANNOT eat although surrounded with food, for they have no legs to keep them steady, and their natural, leverage is wanting.
Considering the numerous old books contained in the British Museum, the Library there is wonderfully free from the worm. Rye, lately the Keeper of the Printed Books there, writes me "Two or three were discovered in my time, but they were weakly creatures. Adam White who pronounced it to be Anobium pertinax. I never heard of it after. The reader, who has not had an opportunity of examining old libraries, can have no idea of the dreadful havoc which these pests are capable of making. I have now before me a fine folio volume, printed on very good unbleached paper, as thick as stout cartridge, in the year , by Peter Schoeffer, of Mentz.
Unfortunately, after a period of neglect in which it suffered severely from the "worm," it was about fifty years ago considered worth a new cover, and so again suffered severely, this time at the hands of the binder. Thus the original state of the boards is unknown, but the damage done to the leaves can be accurately described. The "worms" have attacked each end.
These holes run mostly in lines more or less at right angles with the covers, a very few being channels along the paper affecting three or four sheets only. The varied energy of these little pests is thus represented:—. These 90 leaves being stout, are about the thickness of 1 inch. The volume has leaves, and turning to the end, we find on the last leaf 81 holes, made by a breed of worms not so ravenous. It is curious to notice how the holes, rapidly at first, and then slowly and more slowly, disappear. You trace the same hole leaf after leaf, until suddenly the size becomes in one leaf reduced to half its normal diameter, and a close examination will show a small abrasion of the paper in the next leaf exactly where the hole would have come if continued.
In the book quoted it is just as if there had been a race. In the first ten leaves the weak worms are left behind; in the second ten there are still forty-eight eaters; these are reduced to thirty-one in the third ten, and to only eighteen in the fourth ten. On folio 51 only six worms hold on, and before folio 61 two of them have given in. Before reaching folio 7, it is a neck and neck race between two sturdy gourmands, each making a fine large hole, one of them being oval in shape.
At folio 71 they are still neck and neck, and at folio 81 the same. At folio 87 the oval worm gives in, the round one eating three more leaves and part way through the fourth. The leaves of the book are then untouched until we reach the sixty-ninth from the end, upon which is one worm hole.
After this they go on multiplying to the end of the book. I have quoted this instance because I have it handy, but many worms eat much longer holes than any in this volume; some I have seen running quite through a couple of thick volumes, covers and all. In the "Schoeffer" book the holes are probably the work of Anobium pertinax, because the centre is spared and both ends attacked. Originally, real wooden boards were the covers of the volume, and here, doubtless, the attack was commenced, which was carried through each board into the paper of the book.
I remember well my first visit to the Bodleian Library, in the year , Dr. Bandinel being then the librarian. He was very kind, and afforded me every facility for examining the fine collection of "Caxtons," which was the object of my journey. In looking over a parcel of black-letter fragments, which had been in a drawer for a long time, I came across a small grub, which, without a thought, I threw on the floor and trod under foot.
Soon after I found another, a fat, glossy fellow, so long —-, which I carefully preserved in a little paper box, intending to observe his habits and development. Seeing Dr. Bandinel near, I asked him to look at my curiosity. Hardly, however, had I turned the wriggling little victim out upon the leather-covered table, when down came the doctor's great thumb-nail upon him, and an inch-long smear proved the tomb of all my hopes, while the great bibliographer, wiping his thumb on his coat sleeve, passed on with the remark, "Oh, yes!
Perhaps the great abundance of black-letter books in the Bodleian may account for the variety. At any rate he was an Anobium. I have been unmercifully "chaffed" for the absurd idea that a paper-eating worm could be kept a prisoner in a paper box. Oh, these critics! Your bookworm is a shy, lazy beast, and takes a day or two to recover his appetite after being "evicted.
In the case of Caxton's "Lyf of oure ladye," already referred to, not only are there numerous small holes, but some very large channels at the bottom of the pages. This is a most unusual occurrence, and is probably the work of the larva of "Dermestes vulpinus," a garden beetle, which is very voracious, and eats any kind of dry ligneous rubbish. The scarcity of edible books of the present century has been mentioned. One result of the extensive adulteration of modern paper is that the worm will not touch it. His instinct forbids him to eat the china clay, the bleaches, the plaster of Paris, the sulphate of barytes, the scores of adulterants now used to mix with the fibre, and, so far, the wise pages of the old literature are, in the race against Time with the modern rubbish, heavily handicapped.
Thanks to the general interest taken in old books now-a-days, the worm has hard times of it, and but slight chance of that quiet neglect which is necessary to his, existence. So much greater is the reason why some patient entomologist should, while there is the chance, take upon himself to study the habits of the creature, as Sir John Lubbock has those of the ant. I have now before me some leaves of a book, which, being waste, were used by our economical first printer, Caxton, to make boards, by pasting them together. Whether the old paste was an attraction, or whatever the reason may have been, the worm, when he got in there, did not, as usual, eat straight through everything into the middle of the book, but worked his way longitudinally, eating great furrows along the leaves without passing out of the binding; and so furrowed are these few leaves by long channels that it is difficult to raise one of them without its falling to pieces.
This is bad enough, but we may be very thankful that in these temperate climes we have no such enemies as are found in very hot countries, where a whole library, books, bookshelves, table, chairs, and all, may be destroyed in one night by a countless army of ants.
Our cousins in the United States, so fortunate in many things, seem very fortunate in this—their books are not attacked by the "worm"—at any rate, American writers say so. True it is that all their black-letter comes from Europe, and, having cost many dollars, is well looked after; but there they have thousands of seventeenth and eighteenth century books, in Roman type, printed in the States on genuine and wholesome paper, and the worm is not particular, at least in this country, about the type he eats through, if the paper is good.
Probably, therefore, the custodians of their old libraries could tell a different tale, which makes it all the more amusing to find in the excellent "Encyclopaedia of Printing," 1 edited and printed by Ringwalt, at Philadelphia, not only that the bookworm is a stranger there, for personally he is unknown to most of us, but that his slightest ravages are looked upon as both curious and rare. After quoting Dibdin, with the addition of a few flights of imagination of his own, Ringwalt states that this "paper-eating moth is supposed to have been introduced into England in hogsleather binding from Holland.
The domestic black-beetle, or cockroach, is far too modern an introduction to our country to have done much harm, though he will sometimes nibble the binding of books, especially if they rest upon the floor. Not so fortunate, however, are our American cousins, for in the "Library Journal" for September, , Mr. Weston Flint gives an account of a dreadful little pest which commits great havoc upon the cloth bindings of the New York libraries. It is a small black-beetle or cockroach, called by scientists "Blatta germanica" and by others the "Croton Bug.
In the old English Bible of , we read in Psalm xci, 5, "Thou shalt not nede to be afraied for eny Bugges by night. There is a remedy in the powder known as insecticide, which, however, is very disagreeable upon books and shelves. It is, nevertheless, very fatal to these pests, and affords some consolation in the fact that so soon as a "bug" shows any signs of illness, he is devoured at once by his voracious brethren with the same relish as if he were made of fresh paste.
There is, too, a small silvery insect Lepisma which I have often seen in the backs of neglected books, but his ravages are not of much importance. Nor can we reckon the Codfish as very dangerous to literature, unless, indeed, he be of the Roman obedience, like that wonderful Ichthiobibliophage pardon me, Professor Owen who, in the year , swallowed three Puritanical treatises of John Frith, the Protestant martyr. No wonder, after such a meal, he was soon caught, and became famous in the annals of literature. Rats and mice, however, are occasionally very destructive, as the following anecdote will show: Two centuries ago, the library of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster was kept in the Chapter House, and repairs having become necessary in that building, a scaffolding was erected inside, the books being left on their shelves.
One of the holes made in the wall for a scaffold-pole was selected by a pair of rats for their family residence. Here they formed a nest for their young ones by descending to the library shelves and biting away the leaves of various books. Snug and comfortable was the little household, until, one day, the builder's men having finished, the poles were removed, and—alas!
Buried alive, the father and mother, with five or six of their offspring, met with a speedy death, and not until a few years ago, when a restoration of the Chapter House was effected, was the rat grave opened again for a scaffold pole, and all their skeletons and their nest discovered. Their bones and paper fragments of the nest may now be seen in a glass case in the Chapter House, some of the fragments being attributed to books from the press of Caxton. This is not the case, although there are pieces of very early black-letter books not now to be found in the Abbey library, including little bits of the famous Queen Elizabeth's Prayer book, with woodcuts, A friend sends me the following incident: "A few years since, some rats made nests in the trees surrounding my house; from thence they jumped on to some flat roofing, and so made their way down a chimney into a room where I kept books.
A number of these, with parchment backs, they entirely destroyed, as well as some half-dozen books whole bound in parchment. Another friend informs me that in the Natural History Museum of the Devon and Exeter Institution is a specimen of "another little pest, which has a great affection for bindings in calf and roan. Its scientific name is Niptus Hololeucos. This is curious, and I did not know it, although I know well that Typographus Tomicus, or the "cutting printer," is a sad enemy of good books. Upon this part of our subject, however, I am debarred entering.
The following is from W. Westbrook, Mus.
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It hid behind the paper, emitted some caustic fluid, and then departed this life. I have often caught them in such holes. The size here given is exact. IN the first chapter I mentioned bookbinders among the Enemies of Books, and I tremble to think what a stinging retort might be made if some irate bibliopegist were to turn the scales on the printer, and place HIM in the same category.
On the sins of printers, and the unnatural neglect which has often shortened the lives of their typographical progeny, it is not for me to dilate. There is an old proverb, "'Tis an ill bird that befouls its own nest"; a curious chapter thereupon, with many modern examples, might nevertheless be written.
This I will leave, and will now only place on record some of the cruelties perpetrated upon books by the ignorance or carelessness of binders. He also learns that unbeknownst to her, the dwarfs are mining diamonds. When parting, the dwarfs ask David to send them a suitor they can pay to marry Snow White. While picking apples, David sees a huntress kill a deer that has a young girl's head. The huntress captures David. He learns that she captures young children and animals to fuse their bodies together; with the body of an animal and the mind of a human, they make better sport for her.
David comes up with a plan, convincing the huntress that she would be a better hunter as a centaur. He disarms her by cutting off her hand and running away, while many of her experiments return and attack her. After escaping the huntress, David encounters a soldier named Roland, who allows David to ride with him on his horse, Scylla, and accompany him on a quest to the Fortress of Thorns. They find a battlefield with many casualties; a tank from David's world sits there, as if it fell from the sky. Here David meets the Crooked Man, who promises David the life he had before his mother's death.
The ground reflects what looks like his father, Rose, and Georgie dancing happily. The image transforms into one of Rose and David's father making love; David looks away, so overcome with anger that he cuts the Crooked Man with his sword. In the distance, howls fill the air as the wolves find another bridge to cross the canyon. Roland and David spend the night in an abandoned church, where Roland explains that the king tried to force the people to follow a "new religion".
During the night, David wakes to find Roland whispering to a locket with a picture of a young man. The next morning, David asks Roland about his quest; he explains he is searching for his friend Raphael who left to release a woman from a curse. They leave the church, followed by a wolf scout who is killed by the Crooked Man. Roland and David meet a group of hunters, who take them to their settlement for food and rest. A man named Fletcher lets Roland and David spend the night in his stable and eat with his family.
Fletcher tells them of a terrible Beast which has been wreaking havoc. Roland speaks with the village elders; they agree that the best plan is for the women and children to leave the village for caves in the nearby hills, while the men stay behind to lure the Beast to his death with a tethered cow.
After three nights the Beast appears. Roland tries to lure the worm-shaped Beast into the village, but it follows David instead. The Beast turns out to be female, and as she dies from her offspring bursting out of her body, the offspring are killed with fire. The next morning, the villagers return; Fletcher explains to Roland and David that it would be best if they leave quickly and gives David one of the Beast's claws as a keepsake. David wanders away from Roland and is pulled underground by the Crooked Man, who mocks his and Roland's friendship.
The Crooked Man insinuates that Roland is homosexual and that he is only helping David because he desires him sexually. Meanwhile, Leroi and his pack have arrived at the settlement. Fletcher defies them, and they leave. David and Roland continue their journey. Roland reassures David that his feelings towards David are only friendship and respect. Roland claims that his feelings towards Raphael are no one else's business. They reach the Fortress of Thorns, a great castle covered by thorny vines and surrounded with the bodies of knights killed by the enchantress.
At nightfall, the vines pull back to reveal a gateway. Roland leaves David with Scylla, entering the castle alone. After several hours, David enters the fortress to look for Roland. Each room David passes seems to be enchanted; one has a feast, which is poisoned, and another is a replica of his old room in Rose's house. He climbs to a chamber at the top of the tower; inside, impaled by thorns, are the bodies of Roland and Raphael.
In the centre is a stone altar upon which lies a sleeping woman, who is his mother.
The Book of Dust, Book 1: La Belle Sauvage
He kisses her on the cheek and she opens her eyes, which are completely black; the woman now resembles Rose. David tries to run; she catches and tries to kiss him, but David scratches her face with the Beast's claw and she impales herself on the thorns. David carries the bodies of Roland and Raphael down and lays them on the stone altar, descends from the tower and rides Scylla towards the King's castle. Since its first publication the book has remained in print, and has been reproduced in many editions and foreign languages.
It was first published as a paperback in , by Penguin , who have reissued it regularly. The initial critical response to the book, while largely complimentary in tone, was nevertheless muted and sparse. If not exhilarating, the book was "certainly the most mature and best written novel that Mr Waugh has yet produced".
The only overtly hostile review was Oldmeadow's in The Tablet , which asserted that, after the disquiet in Catholic circles following the publication of Waugh's previous novel, his co-religionists "reasonably hoped to find Mr Waugh turning over a completely new leaf. He has not done so". His friend, the journalist Tom Driberg agreed to place a notice in his "William Hickey" column in the Daily Express , in which Waugh accepted fully Oldmeadow's right to criticise the literary quality of the work "in any terms he thinks suitable".
However, he added, so far as his moral lecturing was concerned, Oldmeadow was "in the position of a valet masquerading in his master's clothes. Long employment by a prince of the Church has tempted him to ape his superiors, and, naturally enough, he gives an uncouth and impudent performance".
Among those less enthusiastic were the novelist J. Priestley , who found the characters lightweight and uninvolving, and the devoutly Catholic Katharine Asquith who thought the writing was brilliant but the subject-matter deeply depressing. In the American critic Alexander Woollcott chose it as the best English novel in years,  a verdict largely endorsed some years later by Frank Kermode.
Urari - A handful o Dust review. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the film based on the novel, see A Handful of Dust film. Satire flourishes in a stable society and presupposes homogeneous standards It is aimed at inconsistency and hypocrisy. It exposes polite cruelty and folly by exaggerating them. It seeks to produce shame. All this has no place in the Century of the Common Man where vice no longer pays lip service to virtue. She believes that although Waugh may have begun the story in Boa Vista, it unlikely that a story of this length and complexity could be completed in two days and notes that story incorporates events that occurred after Waugh left Boa Vista.
The novel, says Davis, "rejects even that faint consolation". Joseph Cotten played the trapped explorer; Ronald Reagan was the series host. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 12 November Novel: A Forum on Fiction. Archived from the original on 4 November Journal of Modern Literature University of Indiana. University of Adelaide ebook. Archived from the original PDF on 3 August Retrieved 18 July Maud and Other Poems. London: Edward Moxon. Dead, long dead! John Donne's Devotions. Christian Classics Ethereal library. Retrieved 16 September The Observer.
Encounter : 63— National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 July Retrieved 21 November Traduit par Marie Canavaggia. The Tablet : Time magazine.