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bibliophile, who, with some expenditure of time, and not much of

money, may make half-binding an art, and give modern books a

peculiar and appropriate raiment.

M. Ambrose Firmin Didot has left some notes on a more serious

topic,--the colours to be chosen when books are full-bound in

morocco.  Thus he would have the "Iliad" clothed in red, the

"Odyssey" in blue, because the old Greek rhapsodists wore a scarlet

cloak when they recited the Wrath of Achilles, a blue one when they

chanted of the Return of Odysseus.  The writings of the great

dignitaries of the Church, M. Didot would array in violet; scarlet

goes well with the productions of cardinals; philosophers have their

sober suit of black morocco, poets like Panard may be dressed in

rose colour.  A collector of this sort would like, were it possible,

to attire Goldsmith's poems in a "coat of Tyrian bloom, satin

grain."  As an antithesis to these extravagant fancies, we may add

that for ordinary books no binding is cheaper, neater, and more

durable, than a coat of buckram.

The conditions of a well bound book may be tersely enumerated.  The

binding should unite solidity and elegance.  The book should open

easily, and remain open at any page you please.  It should never be

necessary, in reading, to squeeze back the covers; and no book,

however expensively bound, has been properly treated, if it does not

open with ease.  It is a mistake to send recently printed books to

the binder, especially books which contain engravings.  The printing

ink dries slowly, and, in the process called "beating," the text is

often transferred to the opposite page.  M. Rouveyre recommends that

one or two years should pass before the binding of a newly printed

book.  The owner will, of course, implore the binder to, spare the

margins; and, almost equally of course, the binder, durus arator,

will cut them down with his abominable plough.  One is almost

tempted to say that margins should always be left untouched, for if

once the binder begins to clip he is unable to resist the seductive

joy, and cuts the paper to the quick, even into the printed matter.

Mr. Blades tells a very sad story of a nobleman who handed over some

Caxtons to a provincial binder, and received them back MINUS 500

pounds worth of margin.  Margins make a book worth perhaps 400

pounds, while their absence reduces the same volume to the box

marked "all these at fourpence."  Intonsis capillis, with locks

unshorn, as Motteley the old dealer used to say, an Elzevir in its

paper wrapper may be worth more than the same tome in morocco,

stamped with Longepierre's fleece of gold.  But these things are

indifferent to bookbinders, new and old.  There lies on the table,

as I write, "Les Provinciales, ou Les Lettres Ecrites par Louis de

Montalte a un Provincial de ses amis, & aux R.R. P.P. Jesuites.  A

Cologne, Ches PIERRE de la VALLEE, M.DC.LVIII."  It is the Elzevir

edition, or what passes for such; but the binder has cut down the

margin so that the words "Les Provinciales" almost touch the top of

the page.  Often the wretch--he lived, judging by his style, in

Derome's time, before the Revolution--has sliced into the head-

titles of the pages.  Thus the book, with its old red morocco cover

and gilded flowers on the back, is no proper companion for "Les

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