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Blank. There was nothing further of any

I suppose I looked dissatisfied. At all
events, I said to Mr. Stuart, that I had no
doubt his father was married at the time
specified, and that his name was Charles
Edward Stuart.

"Well?" he inquired, somewhat

"Well," I replied, not at all triumphantly,
"but what of that? I myself have
known two people named Charles Edward
Stuart, and neither of them claimed descent
from the royal family on that account."

"Of course not," said Mr. Blank, "they
would have been impostors if they had,
because they would have usurped a position
that belongs to me only. There may be
a thousand Charles Edward Stuarts in the
world, for that matter; but there is only
one of them the descendant of kings, and
that is the man who stands before you."

But Mr. Stuart, or Mr. Blank," I replied,
"there is one link wanting in your
golden chain, and that is a very important
one. The link which proves your father
to be the son of James the Second, so
called; the man who fought and lost the
battle of Culloden."

"Incredulous as St. Thomas!" he exclaimed;
and then folding up his papers
suddenly, and putting them carefully into
an old and well-worn pocket-book, he
added: "I have lost my time, and you
have lost yours! I beg pardon for having
intruded myself upon you. You are well
quit of me. Had you believed my claim,
and had you taken any steps in my behalf
with the usurping government of the
descendants of the 'wee, wee German lairdie'
that came from Hanover to sit in the seat
of better men than himself, you might have
been a ruined, and you certainly would have
been a marked, man. You have had a
narrow escape. Good-morning!"

He was gone before I could say a word
to detain him. When I went to the door
to make an effort to bring him back and
put him in a better humour, I heard his
heavy step on the stairs, and the clump of
his thick cudgel as he descended. I never
saw or heard of him more.

I have often wondered what put the
notion into this old gentleman's head:
whether he were crazed on that score, and
on no other: and whether his undoubted
resemblance to the published portraits of
Charles the Second, and the remarkable
profile on the crown pieces of that reign,
added to the strange coincidence afforded
by his name, first gave him the idea, which
was to colour the whole course of his life,
and infuse the little drop of poisonous gall
into a cup of experience, that might otherwise
have been sweet. I think he believed
his own story. And it is just possible that
as much may be said for a great many
other pretenders of past and present times,
who have gone through life burdened with
a heavy delusion, and meaning no harm.

            SMOKING IN FRANCE.

IT WAS Sir Walter Raleigh who first introduced
tobacco into England; it was Jean Nicot,
ambassador of Charles the Ninth at the court
of Lisbon, who conferred the like benefit upon

What would have been the feelings of the
Cardinal of Lorraine, at that time Prime
Minister, had this same Nicot appeared with
the wondrous plant in his hand, and spoken to
his Eminence as follows:

"My lord, the finances of this realm are no
doubt, as usual, in a right meagre condition.
I have come to propose to your Eminence the
creation of a new tax, which, without any sort
of oppression, without arousing the least complaint,
will in due time pour into the king's
coffers something like a hundred and fifty
million francs a year. The tax will be quite
voluntary; no one will be compelled to pay it,
and yet nine men out of ten at least will
contribute to it cheerfully."

"Let us hear your proposal."

"Here it is, my lord. I would suggest that
the Crown should reserve to itself the exclusive
privilege of selling a certain herb which his
Majesty's subjects might reduce to powder and
stuff into their nostrils. Those who preferred it
might cut up the plant into leaves and chew it,
or better still, burn it and inhale the smoke."

If the prelate had listened thus far, it is probable
he would have exclaimed:

"Your herb is then a perfume more fragrant
than amber, than rose, or than musk?"

"On the contrary, your Eminence," would
have answered Nicot, "it smells rather ill."

"And how many idiots and imbeciles do you
conceive there will be, then, to poke this bad-
smelling herb up their noses?"

"There will be, some day, more than twenty
millions in this realm alone, my lord."

If there be not yet in France quite so many
as twenty million men who smoke or take
snuff, the number does not fall far short of it.
The imperial manufactories sold, within the
year 1867, no less than two hundred and forty-
eight million six hundred and fifty-two thousand
francs' (nine million fifty-three thousand
nine hundred and twenty pounds) worth of
tobacco under various forms. And the net
profit which accrued to the revenue from this
colossal sale was one hundred and seventy-
seven million seven hundred and fifty-two
thousand four hundred and thirty-five francs
that is, seven million one hundred and ten thousand
and ninety-seven pounds, eight shillings.