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WHEN I was a child, I remember to have
had my ears boxed for informing a lady-
visitor who made a morning call at our
house, that a certain ornamental object on the
table, which was covered with marbled-paper,
"wasn't marble." Years of reflection upon
this injury have fully satisfied me that the
honest object in question never imposed upon
anybody; further, that my honoured parents,
though both of a sanguine temperament,
never can have conceived it possible that it
might, could, should, would, or did, impose
upon anybody. Yet, I have no doubt that I
had my ears boxed for violating a tacit
compact in the family and among the family
visitors, to blink the stubborn fact of the
marbled paper, and agree upon a fiction of
real marble.

Long after this, when my ears had been
past boxing for a quarter of a century, I
knew a man with a cork leg. That he had a
cork legor, at all events, that he was at
immense pains to take about with him a leg
which was not his own leg, or a real legwas
so plain and obvious a circumstance, that the
whole universe might have made affidavit of it.
Still, it was always understood that this cork
leg was to be regarded as a leg of flesh and
blood, and even that the very subject of cork
in the abstract was to be avoided in the
wearer's society.

I have had my share of going about the
world; wherever I have been, I have found
the marbled paper and the cork leg. I have
found them in many forms; but, of all their
Protean shapes, at once the commonest and
strangest has beenSmuggled Relations.

I was on intimate terms for many, many
years, with my late lamented friend, Cogsford,
of the great Greek house of Cogsford
Brothers and Cogsford. I was his executor.
I believe he had no secrets from me but one
his mother. That the agreeable old lady
who kept his house for him was his mother,
must be his mother, couldn't possibly be
anybody but his mother, was evident: not
to me alone, but to everybody who knew
him. She was not a refugee, she was not
proscribed, she was not in hiding, there was
no price put upon her venerable head; she
was invariably liked and respected as a good-
humoured, sensible, cheerful old soul. Then
why did Cogsford smuggle his mother all the
days of his life? I have not the slightest
idea why. I cannot so much as say whether
she had ever contracted a second marriage,
and her name was really Mrs. Bean; or
whether that name was bestowed upon her as
a part of the smuggling transaction. I only
know that there she used to sit at one end of
the hospitable table, the living image in a
cap of Cogsford at the other end, and that
Cogsford knew that I knew who she was.
Yet, if I had been a Custom-house officer
at Folkestone, and Mrs. Bean a French
clock that Cogsford was furtively bringing
from Paris in a hat-box, he could not
have made her the subject of a more
determined and deliberate pretence. It was
prolonged for years upon years. It survived the
good old lady herself. One day, I received an
agitated note from Cogsford, entreating me to
go to him immediately; I went, and found
him weeping, and in the greatest affliction.
"My dear friend," said he, pressing my hand,
"I have lost Mrs. Bean. She is no more." I
went to the funeral with him. He was in
the deepest grief. He spoke of Mrs. Bean, on
the way back, as the best of women. But,
even then he never hinted that Mrs. Bean
was his mother; and the first and last
acknowledgment of the fact that I ever had
from him was in his last will, wherein he
entreated "his said dear friend and executor"
to observe that he requested to be buried
beside his motherwhom he didn't even
name, he was so perfectly confident that I
had detected Mrs. Bean.

I was once acquainted with another man
who smuggled a brother. This contraband
relative made mysterious appearances and
disappearances, and knew strange things. He
was called Johnsimply John. I have got
into a habit of believing that he must have
been under a penalty to forfeit some weekly
allowance if he ever claimed a surname. He
came to light in this way;—I wanted some
information respecting the remotest of the
Himalaya range of mountains, and I applied
to my friend Benting (a member of the
Geographical Society, and learned on such points),
to advise me. After some consideration,
Benting said, in a half reluctant and
constrained way, very unlike his usual frank