Rathelot, an officer of the Paris law courts, succeeded in an ingenious manner, in transcribing a number of the registers which were burnt during the Commune. These registers remained so long in the fire that each seemed to have become a homogeneous block, more like a slab of charcoal than anything else, and when an attempt was made to detach a leaf it fell away into powder. Many scientific men examined these unpromising black blocks, when Rathelot hit upon the following method of operation: - In the first place, he cut off the back of the book so as to leave nothing but the mass of leaves which the fire had caused to adhere to each other; he then steeped the book in water, and afterwards exposed it, all wet as it was, to the heat at the mouth of a furnace; the water, as it evaporated, raised the leaves one by one, and they could be separated, but with extraordinary precautions. Each sheet was then deciphered and transcribed. The appearance of the pages was very curious; the writing appeared of a dull black, while the paper was of a lustrous black, something like velvet decorations on a black satin ground, so that the entries were not difficult to read.