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prefaced it by saying that the price of a perfect book, upon a perfect subject, ought to be a perfect sum in a perfect coin; that is to say one guinea. Now as Dr. Daniel Dove was a perfect Doctor, and his horse Nobs was a perfect horse, and as I humbly hope their history will be a perfect history, so ought the Dedication thereunto to be perfect in its kind. Perfect therefore it shall be, as far as kalotypography can make it. For though it would be hopeless to exceed all former Dedications in the turn of a compliment or of a sentence, in the turn of the letters it is possible to exceed them all. It was once my fortune to employ a printer who had a love for his art; and having a taste that way myself, we discussed the merits of a new font one day when I happened to call in upon him. I objected to the angular inclination of a capital italic A which stood upon its pins as if it were starting aghast from the next letter on the left, and was about to tumble upon that to the right; in which case down would go the rest of the word, like a row of soldiers which children make with cards. My printer was too
deeply enamoured with the beauties of his font, to have either eye or ear for its defects; and hastily waving that point he called my attention to a capital R in the same line, which cocked up its tail just as if it had been nicked; that cock of the tail had fascinated him. "Look Sir," said he, while his eyes glistened with all the ardour of an amateur; "look at that turn!-that's sweet, Sir!" and drawing off the hand with the forefinger of which he had indicated it, he described in the air the turn that had delighted him, in a sort of heroic flourish, his head with a diminished axis, like the inner stile of a Pentegraph, following the movement. I have never seen that R since without remembering him.
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read the stars, may read in them the secret which he seeketh.
But the turns of my Dedication to the Bhow Begum shall not be trusted to the letter founders, a set of men remarkable for involving their
craft in such mystery that no one ever taught it to another, every one who has practised it having been obliged either surreptitiously to obtain the secret, or to invent a method for himself. It shall be in the old English letter, not only because that alphabet hath in its curves and angles, its frettings and redundant lines, a sort of picturesque similitude with Gothic architecture, but also because in its breadth and beauty it will display the colour of the ink to most advantage. For the Dedication shall not be printed in black after the ordinary fashion, nor in white like the Sermon upon the Excise Laws, nor in red after the mode of Dr. Dibdin's half titles, but in the colour of that imperial encaustick ink, which by the laws of the Roman Empire it was death for any but the Roman Emperor himself to use. We Britons live in a free country, wherein every man may use what coloured ink seemeth good to him, and put as much gall in it as he pleases, or any other ingredient whatsoever. Moreover this is an imperial age, in which to say nothing of M. Ingelby the Emperor of the Conjurors,
we have seen no fewer than four new Emperors. He of Russia who did not think the old title of Peter the Great good enough for him: he of France, for whom any name but that of Tyrant or Murderer is too good; he of Austria who took up one imperial appellation to cover over the humiliating manner in which he laid another down; and he of Hayti, who if he be wise will order all public business to be carried on in the talkee-talkee tongue, and make it high treason for any person to speak or write French in his dominions. We also must dub our old Parliament imperial forsooth! that we may not be behindhand with the age. Then we have Imperial Dining Tables! Imperial Oil for nourishing the hair! Imperial Liquid for Boot Tops! Yea, and, by all the Cæsars deified and damnified, Imperial Blacking! For my part I love to go with the stream, so I will have an Imperial Dedication.
Behold it Reader.
Therein is mystery.