The short section on how to choose a quill. A little bit of worthless information for Halloween.
The first quill in the wing is small, hard, thick in the barrel, and of little value. It may easily be known by the feather; one side of which is very narrow, and of uniform width, from the barrel to the tip. The second is esteemed the best in the wing; is of good size; makes the finest and most durable point; and, if properly manufactured, is very elastic. The narrow side of the feather, about one third from the top, suddenly dents in, nearly to the width of that of the first. The third is hardly to be distinguished from the second, in any respect. The fourth is larger, somewhat softer, and more elastic than the second and third; but does not hold its point so well. The whole narrow side of the feather is a little wider than that of the second and third, and is not indented at all. The second, third and fourth are usually put, by the manufacturers, in the same bunch and are called first quality: all the other quills in the wing, except, perhaps, the fifth, are thin and weak, and fit for nothing but to form a feeble, timid hand.
Meanwhile, I’m finding some very interesting things for the next period in our historical survey. I think at some point I need to just write down the outline and fill in the blanks as we go along on this blog thing.