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withdrew, keeping his eyes on the conquered brute The two thousand ducats were counted out and paid. The lion shortly recovered.
19. With a universal gasp of relief, followed by deafening shouts and cheers, the spectators withdrew from the terrace, having witnessed a scene which they could never forget, and which, as was said in the beginning, is still talked of throughout
1. Ferocious, incessantly, structure, obeisance, barred, ravenous, absorbed, behavior, crouched, unconcern, launched, selfpreservation, developed, anticipate, imploring, pitiful, onslaught, espied, conquered, adversaries.
2. Why is the lion called “the royal brute”? What animals have claws ? What is the meaning of “the barred gate”? “ launched himself into the air”? "scanning his victim”?
crossing the lion in the air ” ? “took flight”?
X. LEAD PENCILS.
1. With what delight must the world of artists and writers of all kinds have hailed the invention of the blacklead pencil as we have it to-day!
2. They had used the old-fashioned pen (made of the goose or crow quill) for designing and sketching, as well as for writing, and had cut sheet lead into strips for ruling. Some artists, indeed,
had formed a mixture of common lead and tin, but the composition was hard, and aint in color, and not in general use.
3. I said the blacklead pencil; but, although the metallic part
of this little implement is universally called blacklead, there is not a particle of lead in it. The black, smooth, and glossy substance is plumbago, and is a compound of carbon and iron.
4. Several varieties of plumbago are found in the rocks of different parts of the world, and it happens that one is fine-grained, soft, and nearly free from grit, and is thus well adapted for writing. This kind has received the name graphite, from the Greek word meaning to write.
5. In the year 1564, the time of Queen Elizabeth of England, or, as the English love to call her, “Good Queen Bess,” and the very year that Shakespeare, the greatest of English poets, was born, there was discovered in the county of Cumberland, in the northwest part of England, a mine of the best and purest graphite that had ever been seen.
6. The substance was so solid and firm that it could be sawed into sheets, and these could be sawed again into little narrow strips without being broken. These little strips of graphite, being soft and smooth and black, were inclosed in round pieces of soft wood grooved out to receive them,
—thus forming, to all intents and purposes, the modern lead pencil.
7. This mine at Borrowdale, in Cumberland, at once became very celebrated, and, of course, valuable. Pencils made of Cumberland graphite were to be found all over Europe, and were everywhere highly prized. Their manufacture became an important branch of business, and, in order to keep it wholly within the borders of their own country, the government passed laws prohibiting the export of graphite to foreign lands. Its value was such that the average price in London was ten dollars a pound, and the finest quality sometimes reached forty dollars.
8. Such care was taken of this mine in northwestern England that only a certain quantity of graphite—enough to supply the requirements of the pencil-makers—was doled out on the first Monday in every month. Moreover, the authorities were obliged to keep a military force at the mine to protect it from marauders and robbers who attempted to get possession of it.
9. England thus supplied the world with lead pencils for nearly three hundred years; for, though pencils were made of an impure graphite elsewhere in Europe, they were so far inferior to the genuine article that artists were obliged to look to England for their supply
10. There is an end to most good things, and so it proved at last with the graphite mine in Cumberland. Its exhaustion had been only a question of time, and it became evident that some means must be devised for making the impure graphite available for the needs of the world.
11. All sorts of experiments were tried. The plumbago was ground to powder, washed in several waters to separate the grit from it, and then subjected to pressure to make it compact and firm ; but this did not succeed. It was then mixed with different materials, such as glue, isinglass, gum arabic, etc., to give it the necessary strength, but this did not answer.
12. One third its weight in sulphur was next added to the powdered material, and this was a partial success; but the marks made with the mixture were faint and did not satisfy the need, so that this, too, was on the whole a failure.
13. But at last, as usual, patience, perseverance, ingenuity, and experience solved the problem. Pencils are now made that are better adapted for all purposes, blacker or fainter, harder or softer, than ever could be made from the best of Cumberland lead by the old method.
14. The mode of treating the plumbago, by which this result is obtained, is a French invention. It consists in mixing the pulverized and purified
plumbago with powdered clay in a certain manner, and in certain proportions, moistening and drying, pressing and baking the mass, and varying the treatment according to the grade of pencil required.
15. In this way a case of pencils may be accurately marked to indicate the degree of hardness or softness, and the shade, whether darker or lighter, a point of necessity to artists. These nice shadings could not have been obtained in the old use of Cumberland lead : so that human ingenuity and care, in this as in many other instances, have made an inferior article answer a better purpose than the purest natural product unaided by human skill.
16. A most valuable mine of graphite, as good as that of Cumberland, has been discovered in Siberia, and the cedar wood, of which the pencil-casing is made, is taken from a cedar swamp in Florida : so, as the greatest pencil-manufacturing establishment of the world is in Germany, these two substances-graphite from the mountains of Siberia and wood from the swamps of Florida-meet in the heart of Europe, to be there united and fitted for our use as lead pencils.
n 1. Invention, designing, sketching, implement, substance, plumbago, compound, varieties, graphite, prohibiting, export, foreign, average, requirements, authorities, marauders, inferior, available, experiments, compact, ingenuity, moistening, establishment, isinglass, pulverized.