“Oh, let him alone
For making a blunder or picking a bone.”


Origin of Errata

. In works of the remotest dates, tables of errata are seldom, perhaps never found; but the faults of the impression were corrected with the pen previously to the dispersion of the work. This is exemplified in the earliest editions of Gering, Caxton, and several others. A similar mode of correction appears to have been adopted, so late as the year 1534, by the editor of the “Discourses of Clictou.” But the labour of manual correction was of short duration. Through the ignorance of sordid printers, errors of the press soon became very numerous, and to correct them with the pen was but in other words to disfigure the volume throughout, and make a disgusting display of its imperfections. The custom was consequently adopted of affixing the most im­portant corrections, under the title of errata, at the end of the volume.

The compositor who set up

£10,000 to read one thousand, might have prevented his mistake by a little fourth-ought.

Besides the ordinary errata

, which happen in printing a work, others have been purposely committed that the errata may contain what is not permitted to appear in tne body of the work. Wherever the Inquisition had any power, particularly at Rome, it was not allowed to employ the word fatum, or fata, in any book. An author, desirous of using the latter word, adroitly invented this scheme: he had printed in his book facta, and, in the errata, he put, “for ‘facta’ read ‘fata.’”

The Baron de Grimm

, in his “Memoirs,” mentions the extraordinary circumstance of an irritable French author having died in a fit of anger, in consequence of a favourite work, which he had himself revised with great care, having been printed off with upwards of three hundred typographical errors, half of which had been made by the corrector of the press.

In the version of the Epistles of St. Paul

into the Ethiopic language, which proved to be full of errors, the editors allege a good-humoured reason: “They who printed the work could not read, and we could not print; they helped us, and we helped them, as the blind help the blind.”

A young lady wrote some verses

for a paper about her birthday, and headed them “May 30th.” It almost made her hair turn gray when it appeared in print “My 30th.”

A primer’s widow in Germany

, while a new edition of the Bible was printing at her house, one night took an opportunity of stealing into the office, to alter that sentence of subjection to her husband, pronounced upon Eve in Genesis chapter iii. v. 16. She took out the firt two letters of the word “herr,” and sub­stituted “na” in their place, thus altering the sentence from “and he shall be thy lord” (herr) to “and he shall be thy fool” (narr) It is said her life paid for this intentional erratum; and that some secreted copies of this edition have been bought up at enormous prices.

The omission of a letter

gave a singular effect to an advertisement in a Midland paper lately. The announcement should have read, “Messrs.———’s preserves cannot be beaten”; but the letter “b” in the last word was left out.

“Relicts of John Wesley for sale”

appeared in the shop window of a small printing-office some years ago, making one wonder what age John Wesley's widows might be, and why such a sale should be allowed in this land of freedom.

Owing to a ridiculous error in printing

, what should have been “A sailor, going to sea, his wife desires the prayers of the con­gregation,” appeared “A sailor going to see his wife, desires the prayers of the congrega­tion.”

In the year 1561 was printed

a work entitled “The Anatomy of the Mass.” It i a thin octavom of 172 pages, nd it is accompanied by a list of errata of fifteen pages! The editor, a pious monk, informs his readers that a very serious reason induced him to undertake this task; for it is, says he, to forestall the artifices of Satan. He supposes that the devil, to ruin the fruit of this work, employed two very malicious frauds; the first, before it was printed, by drenching the manuscript in a kennel, and having reduced it to a most pitiable state, rendered several parts illegible; the second, in obliging the printers to commit such numerous blunders, never yet equalled in so small a work. To combat this double machination of Satan he was obliged carefully to reperuse the work, and to form this singular list of the blunders of printers under the influence of the devil. All this he relates in an advertisement prefixed to the errata.

The vagaries of the compositor

are never more inconvenient than when they affect theological matter. The editor of a magazine published in London sent to his printers the “copy” of a sermon. The handwriting of the author is succinctly described as horrible. But that hardly seems sufficient excuse for the fact that an eloquent passage ending with the words, “No cross, no crown!” appeared in proof with the moving exclamation, “No cows, no cream!”