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or extending his scrutiny beyond the letter-
press. We shall, however, set a bright example
of profundity, and having discharged our duty
to the face of the Bank Note, shall proceed
to penetrate below it: having analysed the
print, we shall now speak of the paper.

The late Mr. Cobbett, to express his idea of
the intrinsic worthlessness of these sheets, in
comparison with the prices at which they pass
current, was wont to designate Bank Notes as
"Rags." It may, indeed, be said of them
that, "Rags they were, and to tinder they
return;" for they are born of shreds of linen,
and, ten years after death, are converted in
bonfires into the finest of known tinder. It
may be considered a curious fact by those
who wear shirts, and a painful, because hopeless
one, by those who make them, that the
refuse or cuttings of linen forms, with a slight
admixture of cotton, the pabulum or pulp of
Bank Note Paper. Machinery has made no
inroads on this branch of paper-making. The
pulp is kept so well mixed in a large vat,
that the fibrous material presents the appearance
of a huge cauldron of milk. Into this
the paper-maker dips his mould, which is a
fine wire sieve, having round its edge, a
slight mahogany frame, called the "Deckel,"
which confines the pulp to the dimensions
of the mould. This dip is quite a feat of
dexterity, for on it depends the thickness
and evenness of the sheet of paper. The
water-mark, or, more properly, the wire-
mark, is obtained by twisting wires to the
desired form or design, and stitching them
on the face of the mould; therefore the design
is above the level face of the mould, by the
thickness of the wires it is composed of. Hence,
the pulp in settling down on the mould, must
of necessity be thinner on the wire design
than on other parts of the sheet. When the
water has run off through the sieve-like
face of the mould, the new-bom sheet of paper
is transferred to a blanket; this operation is
called "couching," and is effected by pressing
the mould gently but firmly on the blanket,
when the spongy sheet clings to the cloth.
Sizing is a subsequent process, and, when
dry, the water-mark is plainly discernible,
being, of course, transparent where the
substance is thinnest. The paper is then made
up into reams of five hundred sheets each,
ready for press. The water-mark in the
notes of the Bank of England is secured
to that Establishment by a special Act of
Parliament. Indeed, imitation of anything
whatever connected with a Bank Note is an
extremely hazardous feat.

A scrupulous examination of this curious
piece of paper, implants a thorough conviction
that it is a very superior articlein
short, unique. There is nothing like it in the
world of sheets. Tested by the touch, it
gives out a crisp, crackling, sharp, sound
a note essentially its owna music which
resounds from no other quires. To the eye it
shows a colour belonging neither to blue-wove
nor yellow-wove, nor to cream-laid, but a
white, like no other white, either in paper and
pulp. The rough fringiness of three of its
edges are called the "deckeled" edges, being
the natural boundary of the pulp when first
moulded; the fourth is left smooth by the
knife, which eventually cuts the two notes in
twain. It is so thin that, when printed, there
is much difficulty in making erasures; yet
it is so strong that a "water-leaf" (a leaf before
the application of size) will support thirty-six
pounds; and, with the addition of one grain
of size, half a hundred weight, without tearing;
yet the quantity of fibre of which it consists,
is no more than eighteen grains and a half.

The process of engraving the Bank Note is
peculiar. Its general design is remarkably
plainsteel plates are used, and are engraved
in a manner somewhat analogous to that
employed in the Mint for the production of the
coin, except that heavy pressure is used
instead of a blow. The form of the Note
is divided into four or five sections, each
engraved on steel dies which are hardened.
Steel rollers, or mills, are obtained from these
dies, and each portion of the Note is impressed
on a steel plate to be printed from by the
mills until the whole form is complete.

By means of a very ingenious machine, the
engraving on the plates when worn by long
printing is repaired by the same mills, and
thus perfect identity of form is permanently
secured. The merits of this system are due
to the late Mr. Oldham, and the many
improvements introduced not only into this, but
into the printing department, are the work of
his son and successor, Mr. Thomas Oldham,
the present chief engraver to the Bank of
England. The platealways with a pair of
notes upon itis now ready for the press;
for it contains all the literary part of the
work, except the date, the number, and the
cashier's signature.

We must now review the manner of
printing. Before passing through the press,
all paper must be damped that it may readily
absorb ink; and Bank Note paper is not
exempt from this law; but the process by which
it is complied with is an ingenious exception
to the ordinary modes. The sheets are put
into an iron chamber which is exhausted of
air; water is then admitted, and forces itself
through every pore at the rate of thirty
thousand sheets, or double notes, per minute!

In a long gallery that looks like a chamber of
the Inquisition with self-acting racks, stands a
row of plate-printing presses worked by steam.
Every time a sheet passes through them they
emit a soft "click" like a ship's capstan
creaking in a whisper. By this sound they
announce to all whom it may concern that
they have printed two Bank Notes. They are
tell-tales, and keep no secrets; for, not content
with stating the fact aloud, each press moves,
by means of a chain, an index of numerals at
the end of the room; so that the chief of the
department can see at any hour of the day