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100. Parchment-book-covers.

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Labat was told in Italy that books in carta pecora as they call it, were better preserved than in leather-binding. Il me semble qu’ils se trompent, he says, mais cette relieure est â beaucoup meilleur marchè et pese moins,.. ils ont raison par ces deux endroits. But the Italians were right; books in parchment are not so liable to be worm eaten:— I am not sure that they suffer at all from these insects which make such ravages upon leather bound books in a hot country, and sometimes even in our own. Perhaps 204the reason is, because those in parchment are usually without pasteboard. — On the other hand they are far more susceptible of damp. I have found some of them with their covers black and rotten after a voyage, though packed in the midst of a chest, where the books around them were perfectly uninjured by the sea.

Books which have these covers should never have them stiffened with any kind of boards, they cannot otherwise be read near the fire without inconvenience or injury. In the old fashion parchment is the lightest, cheapest, cleanest, and most durable form of binding, and if vellum be substituted, the most beautiful.