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The roughness and inequalities in paper are smoothed down with a tooth1 or shell; but the writing in such places is very apt to fade. When it is thus polished the paper does not take the ink so readily, but is of a more lustrous and shining surface. The water of the Nile that has been originally employed in its manufacture, being sometimes used without due precaution, will unfit the paper for taking writing: this fault, however, may be detected by a blow with the mallet, or even by the smell,2 when the carelessness has been extreme. These spots, too, may be detected by the eye; but the streaks that run down the middle of the leaves where they have been pasted together, though they render the paper spongy and of a soaking nature, can hardly ever be detected before the ink runs, while the pen is forming the letters; so many are the openings for fraud to be put in practice. The consequence is, that another labour has been added to the due preparation of paper.

1 He perhaps means a portion of an elephant's tusk.

2 Meaning a damp, musty smell.

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load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), VINUM
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