Bring on the red ink!
I am quite fond of Bastille Day. After all, I am part French and believe that the overthrow of monarchy should also be celebrated. It is also the birthday of my good friend, Blake, who was born to American parents in Marseilles shortly after the war. For choosing to arrive on Bastille Day, he was awarded the French Legion of Merit. Evidently the French war veterans were very puzzled to encounter a small boy proudly wearing one of their nation’s highest honors. Viva le France!
This year I had an additional reason to celebrate — the arrival of a bottle of J. Herbin ink and a Clairefontaine notebook. I had asked Karen for the gaudiest red available, so she sent Rouge Caroubier. I promptly cleaned out my best pen (the Parker Centennial Duofold I’ve written of in the past), filled it up and set to work.
I like red ink; I find it easier to see. My secretary appreciates if for much the same reason. It is also appropriate for my non-legal writing project — The Great American (Vampire) Novel. J. Herbin did not disappoint.
* A very vivid, visible red.
* Flows well and does not clog my pen.
* Has the proper amount of lubricity.
(Forgive a scientific term used in an unscientific way. Lubricity is the ability of a liquid to provide lubrication. Some inks seem like merely colored water, doing nothing to reduce the friction between the nib and the page. The J. Herbin helps the pen flow very nicely.)
* Spills wash away easily. (An important point when your photo is in the dictionary to illustrate the term klutz.)
Cons (of a very minor variety):
* The bottle is a bit shallow, making it difficult to fill a pen as large as a Duofold Centennial.
* The color might be a bit thin or œwatery for those who like their inks richly saturated. But, in my experience, a saturated ink soon leads to a clogged pen.
* The ink can be a bit slow to dry.
I noticed this point particularly when writing in those little black Italian-made notebooks that shall go unnamed here. I did not have that difficulty with the Clairfontaine or Exacompta notebooks, much to my surprise. Both of those have very smooth paper and I expected the ink to merely lay on top of the page, rather than to soak into it.
* I can’t buy it locally.
In all, a fine ink. Easy to read and good for marking up revisions and papers (although students might not appreciate it!). More, it is distinctive. In a world filled with drab black and blue inks, be a revolutionary. Pin le cockade to your hat and spread around some Rouge Caroubier. Trust me, you will get noticed.