Lost Illusions

Lost Illusions

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Lost Illusions

Lost Illusions

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Séchard was formerly a journeyman printer, of the kind which the workmen whose duty it was to collect the letters called, in typographic slang, a "bear." The incessant coming and going and turning, very like that of a bear in his cage, with which the pressmen moved from the ink to the press, and from the press to the ink, was no doubt the origin of the nickname. In return, the bears called the compositors "monkeys," on account of the agility with which those gentry were obliged to catch up the letters from the hundred and fifty little cases which contained them. At the disastrous period of the Revolution, Séchard, then about fifty years old, was lately married. His age and his marriage saved him from the great draft which swept nearly all the workmen of France into the army. The old pressman was left alone in the printing-office, the master of which (otherwise termed the "naïf") had just died, leaving a widow and two children. The establishment seemed threatened with immediate collapse. The solitary bear could not be transformed into a monkey for the reason that, in his capacity as a pressman, he had not known how to read or write. At this juncture a representative of the people, eager to distribute the noble decrees of the Convention, bestowed upon the pressman, without paying any heed to his incapacity, the license of a master-printer, and gave him the work to do.

Having accepted this perilous license, citizen Séchard bought out the widow of his master with the savings of . . .

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