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We have in Italy some woods that are apt to split of themselves: to prevent this, architects recommend that they should be first seasoned in manure1 and then dried, in order to render them proof against the action of the atmosphere. The woods of the fir and larch are well adapted, even when used transversely, for the support of heavy burdens; while the robur and the olive are apt to bend and give way under a weight. The wood of the poplar and the palm are also strong, but this last will bend, though in a manner different from the others; for, while in all other instances the wood bends downwards, in the palm it bends in the contrary direction,2 and forms an arch. The woods of the pine and the cypress are proof against decay and all attacks of wood-worm. The walnut is easily warped, but we sometimes see beams even made of it. It gives warning, however, before it breaks, by a loud cracking noise; such was the case at Antandros, at the public baths there—the bathers took the alarm upon hearing the beams crack, and made their escape. The pine, the pitch-tree, and the alder are employed for making hollow pipes for the conveyance, of water, and when buried in the earth will last for many years. If, however, they are not well covered over, they will very soon rot; and the resistance they offer to decay will increase in a most surprising degree if the outer surface as well is left in contact with the water.

1 This process, Fée says, would be attended with no success.

2 It is not quite clear whether he intends this observation to apply to the poplar and the palm, or to the last only. It is true, however, in neither case, and is contrary, as Fée observes, to all physical laws.

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load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
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