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There is an incident in the progress of typography which is worthy of especial notice. It is another proof that there are some men who are stimulated by the very difficulties which overwhelm most others. When Warren Hastings was Governorgeneral of India, there was a young writer, named Wilkins, in the East India Company's service, at Bengal. Hastings desired to improve the education of the persons employed by the Company; and Wilkins, having made himself acquainted with the language of the country, was enabled to render him much assistance. Amongst other things, Hastings determined to print the grammar of the Bengalee language. The type had to be cast for the purpose. But owing to the intricacies of the strokes, the varying lengths, sizes, positions, and combinations of the Bengalee alphabet, it was found very difficult to form the punches. Mr. Bolt attempted it, but entirely failed, though he was an excellent Bengalee scholar. Many able artists of London, who had assisted, failed also. In this emergency, Wilkins applied himself to the task. He had neither models nor practical knowledge to guide him, nor did he possess any trained mechanical skill; yet he succeeded by the force of determination and industry. He became the metallurgist, the punch-cutter, the type-founder, and the printer; and produced a grammar-book which forms an extraordinary instance of untaught skill. Afterwards hé organized a printing-office, and greatly advanced the art of printing in India. On his return to England, in 1786, he determined to print a Sanscrit grammar; and for this also he cut the punches, made the matrices, and cast the type. Only a single copy of a part of this work is in existence, for after Wilkins had printed 20 pages of it, his residence, at Hawkhurst, in Kent, was burnt down, and his punches, matrices, and types were rendered useless. But Wilkins returned to the task, and the Sanscrit grammar which he has given to the world is a monument both of mental and mechanical ability.
A set of types was anciently called a fund; it is now called a fount. The different letters bear a fixed proportion to each other. Thus a fount containing 8,500 a's will have 1,600 of b; 3,000 of c; 4,400 of d; 12,000 of e; 2,500 of f; 1,700 of g; 6,400 of h; 8,000 of i; 400 of j; 800 of k; 4,000 of l; 3,000 of m; 8,000 of n; 8,000 of o; 1,700 of p; 300 of q; 6,200 of r; 8,000 of s; 9,000 of t; 3,400 of u; 1,200 of v; 2,000 of w; 400 of x; 2,000 of y; 200 of z. The numbers vary in this way, because some letters are more
used than others. It has been found, for instance, that 200 z's are sufficient where 12,000 e's are required. The capital letters of a fount are also proportioned to each other similarly to the other letters. To these must be added the spaces, which are small pieces of metal used to separate the words ; being shorter than the letters, the ink in printing does not touch them, and, therefore, they make no mark on the paper, that is to say, they create a blank between the words. The spaces are of four sorts-hair, thin, middle, and thick spaces. Besides these there are quadrats, or larger spaces, to fill out the breaks in sentences; these are n and m quadrats, spaces, and two, three, and four m quadrats. The shank or body of the m quadrat, we may add, is a perfect square, and is, therefore, used in measuring, just as an inch is in a foot.
The different kinds of type are measured by one standard. This type is the sort called pica. Thus the large letters used in
placards are called ten, twenty, or thirty lines pica, according to their size, that is to say, they are wide, or, as printers say, as deep, as ten, twenty, or thirty lines of pica.
For instance, this letter is “ten-line pica Egyptian,” and is as deep as ten lines of pica put together. The following are the names and specimens of body letters, that is, the types used in printing
books. GREAT PRIMER. —This is sometimes called Bible text, as it is seldom used in printing any other books than the large folio Bibles. The French call it Great Roman.
ENGLISH.—This is used for printing Bibles, large books, and the body of handbills. The French and Dutch call it St. Augustine; it is supposed, therefore, that this sized type was first used by those nations in printing the works of that writer.
PICA.—This is the standard by which all the others are measured. It is more generally used than any
other sort, especially in printing works of a high character. The French and Germans call it Cicero, it having been originally used by them in printing the Roman orator's epistles.
SMALL PICA.—This is the favourite type for novels. is called brevier by the Germans, and philosophie by the French.
LONG PRIMER.-This sort is generally used for printing small books, or large books with close pages. The French call it little Roman, and the Germans corpus, it having been used by them, in the first instance, for printing the Corpus Juris.
BOURGEOIS,—This type is very much used, and generally forms the largest type employed in printing newspapers. Bourgeois is a French word, but the name is applied only as expressing the common use of the type. The French themselves call it gaillarde.
BREVIER.- This is employed in printing small, cheap books, and for notes to larger type. It is supposed to have derived its name from the practice of using it to print breviaries, or Roman Catholic church-books. The French call it little text, and the Germans maiden letter.
MINION.- This type is very largely used in printing newspapers, as well as in small prayer-books and bibles, and pocket editions of other works. The Germans call it colonel, and the French mignonne, or favourite.
EMERALD.---This is a small kind of minion, used chiefly in newspapers, and only lately introduced.
NONPAREIL.-This type is so called because it is far more beautiful than any other sort. possesses all the beauty, without losing the distinctness of the larger sorts.
RUBY.-This is, like Emerald, an interpolation in the original order of types. It was, at first, a nonpareil body with a smaller face. The French have no type which corresponds with it. PEARL-This is only used for miniature books and notes, and is legible only to persons possessing strong sight. DIAMOND --This is the smallest sort of type, and was first cut by the Dutch. A bor k printed in this type , indeed, a cariosity, like the Lord'. Pra; er written on the site of a sixpence. The letters are so small that 2,800 f them are contained in a ponad's eight. Strong eyes are regaired to read it, and still stronger eyes to arrange the letters for printing. We may add, however, that a type still smaller was cast by M. Didor.
The above types are used in book printing; there are others which are used for placards. For instance, paragon ; double pica; two-line pica ; two-line English ; two-line great primer; and canon, which is four times as large as pica. The types larger than canon have no distinct names, but are known as five, six, seven, twenty, or fifty-line pica, according to their size. Above 24-line pica, the letters are usually cut in wood-not cast in metal.
Type-founders all adopt the same names for these letters; but not always the same height and depth. The consequence is, that types cast at one foundry cannot very well be worked with those cast at another foundry, an inconvenience similar to that now experienced on railways, the width of which being different, each set of engines and carriages can only be worked on the line for which they have been made
BURMESE SCENERY NEAR PROME. When the late Burmese war was a year old, we are told that it was not known even in the India House who was the prince with whom we were contending. This is surely a sufficient proof of our scanty acquaintance with Burmah. We now propose to give some information about this country and its people, who are all probably destined ere long to come under our rule. The recent annexation of Pegu to the British empire will find employment for the energies of many an Englishman, and, what is of indefinitely more importance, it will be, we trust, a great step towards the Christianization of Burmah..
The limits of the Burman empire cannot be exactly defined, for they depend upon varying circumstances. At a liberal computation it may be said to be eight hundred miles long, by about three hundred broad. Assam and an unexplored territory bound it on the north, the Gulf of Martaban on the south, Cachar, Tipperah, Chittagong, and Aracan on the west, and China and the river Saluen on the east. The country is flat and low for about eighty or ninety miles from the sea, and then rises gradually so as to become mountainous towards the north. It has four great rivers and a vast number of lakes, there being above a hundred in one single province. The population is said not to exceed three millions—a paltry number for such a country as Burmah.
The inhabitants are composed of many tribes, who differ in language, and often in manners and religion. The Burmese are said to be divided into seven, and there are nine others, some of which live in a savage state in the mountains. Although these tribes are scattered over the country, they do not intermingle or associate with the rest of the people. The Burmese, though not tall, are active and muscular. The women, especially in the northern parts, are fairer than the Hindoos, but are less delicately formed. To heighten their beauty, they rub the face, hands, and neck with sandal-wood powder, and tinge the nails with red. They are nearly as great smokers as their husbands, and are seldom met on the road without cheroots in their mouths. To turn out the inside of their elbows, as if they were out of joint, is the apex of elegance, and this absurd fashion is a subject of maternal care at the earliest age. The dress of the Burmese varies according to rank, and a glance at an engraving would probably give the reader a better idea of it than a lengthened description, so we shall pass it by.
A husband will not allow his wife to eat with him, and when walking she must keep at a respectful distance behind him. The poorer classes appear to be
fond of a rude music and of a slow-measured dance. They have also nocturnal out-door dramatic entertainments, and boxing and wrestling matches. Gambling is a prominent vice amongst the Burmese, who are also greedily fond of spirituous liquors. They have a curious game, which is played with a hollow wicker-work ball. This is struck by the foot or with any part of the leg below the knee, and is thus kept up by expert players for a long time.
Alchemy is, in Burmese estimation, the noblest of the sciences. All who can afford time and money, eagerly attempt to transmute the baser metals into gold and silver. Their physicians seem rather to deserve the name of charm-sellers. If a young woman is dangerously ill, the physician sometimes enters into a strange agreement to take her as his property if she recovers, and to pay her value to the parents if she dies. Burmese literature is nearly all metrical, and is composed of songs, romances, and histories.