CHAP. 26.—THE PASTE USED IN THE PREPARATION OF PAPER.
The common paper paste is made of the finest flour of wheat
mixed with boiling water, and some small drops of vinegar
sprinkled in it: for the ordinary workman's paste, or gum,
if employed for this purpose, will render the paper brittle.
Those, however, who take the greatest pains, boil the crumb
of leavened bread, and then strain off the water: by the
adoption of this method the paper has the fewest seams caused
by the paste that lies between, and is softer than the nap of
linen even. All kinds of paste that are used for this purpose,
ought not to be older or newer than one day. The paper is
then thinned out with a mallet, after which a new layer of
paste is placed upon it; then the creases which have formed
are again pressed out, and it then undergoes the same process
with the mallet as before. It is thus that we have memorials
preserved in the ancient handwriting of Tiberius and Caius
Gracchus, which I have seen in the possession of Pomponius
the poet, a very illustrious citizen, almost two
hundred years since those characters were penned. As for the
handwriting of Cicero, Augustus, and Virgil, we frequently
see them at the present day.