'Oct. 23. Monday. Last night I wrote to Levet.--We went to see the looking-glasses wrought. They come from Normandy in cast plates, perhaps the third of an inch thick. At Paris they are ground upon a marble table, by rubbing one plate upon another with grit between them. The various sands, of which there are said to be five, I could not learn. The handle, by which the upper glass is moved, has the form of a wheel, which may be moved in all directions. The plates are sent up with their surfaces ground, but not polished, and so continue till they are bespoken, lest time should spoil the surface, as we were told. Those that are to be polished, are laid on a table, covered with several thick cloths, hard strained, that the resistance may be equal; they are then rubbed with a hand rubber, held down hard by a contrivance which I did not well understand. The powder which is used last seemed to me to be iron dissolved in aqua fortis: they called it, as Baretti said, marc de beau forte, which he thought was dregs. They mentioned vitriol and salt-petre. The cannon ball swam in the quicksilver. To silver them, a leaf of beaten tin is laid, and rubbed with quicksilver, to which it unites. Then more quicksilver is poured upon it, which, by its mutual [attraction] rises very high. Then a paper is laid at the nearest end of the plate, over which the glass is slided till it lies upon the plate, having driven much of the quicksilver before it. It is then, I think, pressed upon cloths, and then set sloping to drop the superfluous mercury; the slope is daily heightened towards a perpendicular.

'In the way I saw the Greve, the Mayor's house, and the Bastile.[1189]

'We then went to Sans-terre, a brewer. He brews with about as much malt as Mr. Thrale, and sells his beer at the same price, though he pays no duty for malt, and little more than half as much for beer. Beer is sold retail at 6d. a bottle. He brews 4,000 barrels a year. There are seventeen brewers in Paris, of whom none is supposed to brew more than he:--reckoning them at 3,000 each, they make 51,000 a year.--They make their malt, for malting is here no trade. The moat of the Bastile is dry.

'Oct. 24, Tuesday. We visited the King's library--I saw the Speculum humanae Salvationis, rudely printed, with ink, sometimes pale, sometimes black; part supposed to be with wooden types, and part with pages cut on boards.--The Bible, supposed to be older than that of Mentz, in 62[1190]: it has no date; it is supposed to have been printed with wooden types.--I am in doubt; the print is large and fair, in two folios.--Another book was shown me, supposed to have been printed with wooden types;--I think, Durandi Sanctuarium[1191] in 58. This is inferred from the difference of form sometimes seen in the same letter, which might be struck with different puncheons.--The regular similitude of most letters proves better that they are metal.--I saw nothing but the Speculum which I had not seen, I think, before.

'Thence to the Sorbonne.--The library very large, not in lattices like the King's. Marbone and Durandi, q. collection 14 vol. Scriptores de rebus Gallicis, many folios.--Histoire Genealogique of France, 9 vol.--Gallia Christiana, the first edition, 4to. the last, f. 12 vol.--The Prior and Librarian dined [with us]:--I waited on them home.--Their garden pretty, with covered walks, but small; yet may hold many students.--The Doctors of the Sorbonne are all equal:--choose those who succeed to vacancies.--Profit little.

'Oct. 25. Wednesday. I went with the Prior to St. Cloud, to see Dr. Hooke.--We walked round the palace, and had some talk.--I dined with our whole company at the Monastery.--In the library,Beroald,--Cymon,-- Titus, from Boccace.--Oratio Proverbialis to the Virgin, from Petrarch; Falkland to Sandys; Dryden's Preface to the third vol. of Miscellanies[1192].

'Oct. 26. Thursday. We saw the china at Seve, cut, glazed, painted. Bellevue, a pleasing house, not great: fine prospect.--Meudon, an old palace.--Alexander, in Porphyry: hollow between eyes and nose, thin cheeks.--Plato and Aristotle--Noble terrace overlooks the town.--St. Cloud.--Gallery not very high, nor grand, but pleasing.--In the rooms, Michael Angelo, drawn by himself, Sir Thomas More, Des Cartes, Bochart, Naudacus, Mazarine.--Gilded wainscot, so common that it is not minded.--Gough and Keene.--Hooke came to us at the inn.--A message from Drumgold.

'Oct. 27. Friday. I staid at home.--Gough and Keene, and Mrs. S----'s friend dined with us.--This day we began to have a fire.--The weather is grown very cold, and I fear, has a bad effect upon my breath, which has grown much more free and easy in this country.

'Sat. Oct. 28. I visited the Grand Chartreux built by St. Louis.--It is built for forty, but contains only twenty-four, and will not maintain more. The friar that spoke to us had a pretty apartment[1193].--Mr. Baretti says four rooms; I remember but three.--His books seemed to be French.--His garden was neat; he gave me grapes.--We saw the Place de Victoire, with the statues of the King, and the captive nations.

Life of Johnson Vol_02 Page 119

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