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2. All these soft kinds have the advantage that they can be easily worked as soon as they have been taken from the quarries. Under cover they play their part well; but in open and exposed situations the frost and rime make them crumble, and they go to pieces. On the seacoast, too, the salt eats away and dissolves them, nor can they stand great heat either. But travertine and all stone of that class can stand injury whether from a heavy load laid upon it or from the weather; exposure to fire, however, it cannot bear, but splits and cracks to pieces at once. This is because in its natural composition there is but little moisture and not much of the earthy, but a great deal of air and of fire. Therefore, it is not only without the earthy and watery elements, but when fire, expelling the air from it by the operation and force of heat, penetrates into its inmost parts and occupies the empty spaces of the fissures, there comes a great glow and the stone is made to burn as fiercely as do the particles of fire itself.
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