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10. The alder, which is produced close by river banks, and which seems to be altogether useless as building material, has really excellent qualities. It is composed of a very large proportion of air and fire, not much of the earthy, and only a little moisture. Hence, in swampy places, alder piles driven close together beneath the foundations of buildings take in the water which their own consistence lacks and remain imperishable forever, supporting structures of enormous weight and keeping them from decay. Thus a material which cannot last even a little while above ground, endures for a long time when covered with moisture.
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