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The Visit to the Building

"It is a concave bed surface of a stone,"replied Eugne, and added, taking his note-book : "Here (Fig. 36), you can under stand that if the bed of a stone presents the section A B, the middle C being more hollow than the edges, the stone in question rests on the latter only; consequently if the pressure is considerable the corners D E split off; we then say that the stone is flushed. It is better that the surfaces should be made as sketched at G, and should not rest upon their edges.

"Till now, Master Branchu, you have been raising your building by means of runs or inclined planes, but we are getting high; we shall soon want scaffolding.

"As we are building with range-work, using dressed stone above the plinth only at the angles, and for the door and window casings, you will leave scaffolding holes bet*een these wall stones. Then you will only want scaffolding poles and put-logs. For raising the material the carpenter is going to make you a hoist, and you will employ the crab which I shall have sent from Chateauroux, where I have no use for it just now." "If it's the same to you, sir, I prefer our machine." "What !... your wheel concern, in which you put a couple of men like squirrels?" "Yes." "Well, as you like; nevertheless I mean to send for the crab; you shall try it." "In fact,"said Eugene aside to Paul,"his machine, which dates, I believe, from the Tower of Babel, raises the loads, when they are not too heavy, much more easily than our winches; and as we have no very heavy stones to raise, we will not oppose his wishes on this point."And turning to the master mason : "It is a settled matter, Master Branchu, that we do not allow any after-dressing, except for some very delicate mouldings or chamfers if occasion requires; you will set your stones completely dressed with only here and there a little thickness to be worked off."

"Certainly, Mr. Architect, certainly; I would rather build like that." "So much the better, I am glad of it."And addressing Paul :"I know nothing more injurious than the custom that prevails in some great cities of after-dressing buildings. Rough blocks are laid; then when all is built, up they go and cut, pare, sink, scrape, mould, and carve these shapeless masses, most frequently regardless of the jointing; without considering that they thus take away, especially from soft stone, that hard crust which it forms on its surface when newly cut on leaving the quarry, and which resists the inclemency of the weather; a crust which is never formed again when the materials have once produced it and have thrown off what is called their quarry-damp. Happily, in many of our provinces the excellent custom has been retained of cutting each stone on the ground, once for all, in that form which it is permanently to keep; and when once laid, the stone-cutter's tool does not touch it again. Independently of the advantage I have just pointed out to you, this method requires more care and attention on the part of the dressers, and it is not possible then to put the beds and joints anywhere at random. Each stone, on this plan, has its proper destination, and consequently the form suitable to its place. Lastly, when a building is once raised, it is finished : there is no occasion to do anything more to it. I must add, that this method requires on the part of the architect, a complete and finished study of each part of the work at every stage in his arrangement of the parts of the structure."

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