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It was a forgery! Still the fact of imitation
showed there were characteristics to
imitate, though whether answering to the
actual character of the lady is the great point
at issue.

Here are two very characteristic observations
of two very celebrated men. Locke says,
in a letter to Benjamin Farly, that " the
quicker a man writes, the slower others read
what he has written!—this," he pointedly
adds, " being a remark that may concern the
writers of books as well as letters." Lord
Chesterfield says in one of his letters to his
son—" Every man who has the use of his eyes,
and of his hand, can write whatever hand he

I had made notes at the Museum for many
more remarks, but, on returning home to
Knightsbridge, I found that the little black
Virginian boy, with feathers, who hangs on
the left-hand side of my door, had been stolen,
which has so disheartened me, with the study
of human nature, for the present, that I shall
drop my pen. I will merely conclude with a
story from a French historian I have lately
read, which I think admirably to the point,
and will now translate.

In the early part of the reign of Louis the
Fourteenth, a Bolognese, named Primi, who
possessed a handsome face, and was a man of
wit, and an adventurer who had no objection
to make his fortune by the best means that
offered, came to France to see what good luck
might befall him. During his journey from
Lyons to Paris he made the acquaintance of
one Claude Duval, a particularly clever
enterprising person, who on their arrival presented
him to the Abbé de la Baume, afterwards
Archbishop of Embrun. This reverend
personage suddenly conceived the idea of playing
off a novel and ingenious hoax, which has been
called une singulière mystification. Finding
in the boldness and finesse of Primi, together
with his dialect, made up of Italian and
French, his adroitness and personal address,
all the qualities desirable for the execution of
his project, he shut himself up with him for
six weeks, seeing nobody else, excepting the
Duke de Vendôme, and the Grand Prior of
France, his brother, to whom he presented
Primi. All three employed the whole of this
time in teaching Primi the private history of
persons of the Courttheir intrigues, their
friendships, their loves, their hatreds, &c.
As soon as they considered him sufficiently
indoctrinated, the Abbé de la Baume spread
it abroad that he knew an Italian from whom
nothing in the past or future was hidden,
the moment he set eyes on the handwriting
of any person concerning whom anything was
sought to be known. They took care that the
first signature should be that of a person whose
history was fully known to Primi, by their
instructions. Lords and ladies, all the wealthy
middle-class, men and women, the court and
the city, hurried to Primi with autograph
letters and signatures in their hands, and all
came away dumb-foundered at his answers!
From what he told them of the past, they fully
believed all he told them of the future. The
Countess of Soissons, above all, took him under
her patronage. From her he incidentally
extracted all sorts of intrigues of the Court, the
whole of which he most promptly turned to
good account. From the wonderful things that
Primi told her about herself, she described him
to the king as a man of preternatural gifts, and
begged his majesty to allow Primi to examine
his handwriting. After some hesitation the
king sent a letter, apparently in his own hand,
which the Countess immediately took to
Primi. The Italian examined it carefully, and
informed the Countess that this writing was
that of an old miser, a usurer, a sort of old
pawnbroker, a fellow incapable of any good
action. The lady stood confounded. She
assured him that this once he had blundered
most stupidly; but Primi persisted in
assuring her that he had made no mistake.
The Countess took back the letter to the king,
and in courtly language conveyed to him
Primi's interpretation of the character of his
Majesty's handwriting. His Majesty was
astonished, for the letter was, in fact, not his
handwriting, but that of M. le President Rose,
his private secretary, who so closely imitated
the king's handwriting, that Louis continually
made him write letters which he wished to be
supposed in his own hand. This fact Primi
had previously learnt from one of his
instructors, the Duke de Vendôme, together
with the private character of M. le President
Rose. The king was determined to fathom
the mystery. It was too deep and perplexing
to be endured. The next morning he ordered
his chief valet de chambre to bring the Italian
to him in his private cabinet. " Primi," said
his Majesty, "I have only two words to say:
your secret!—for which I will give you a
pension of two thousand pounds:—if not, the
gallows! " It is hardly necessary to say
which of the two was chosen by the Italian.


THE numerous heterogeneous traits in the
Belgian character (assignable, of course, to
the mixed races of which the people are
composed), are, in the opinion of the most
amusing of travelled gossips, Herr Kohl,
typified in the outward physiognomy and local
site of the Belgian capital. He even traces
corresponding peculiarities in the other great
European capitals, most of which he conceives
exhibit tolerably correct types of the
character of the nations to which they
respectively belong; that character being
manifest in the locality and building of the cities
themselves, no less than in the social and
political relations of their inhabitants.

"In St. Petersburgh, with its gew-gaw
palaces, its newly constructed streets, running
in straight parallel lines, its total deficiency
of historic monuments, observes our