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of laughter at the table. I don't care a fig whether Archilochus likes the papers or no. You don't like partridge, Archilochus, or porridge, or what not? Try some other dish. I am not going to force mine down your throat, or quarrel with you if you refuse it. Once in America a clever and candid woman said to me, at the close of a dinner, during which I had been sitting beside her, “Mr. Roundabout, I was told I should not like you ; and I don't.” “Well, ma'am,” says I, in a tone of the most unfeigned simplicity, “I don't care." And we became good friends immediately, and esteemed each other ever after.

So, my dear Archilochus, if you come upon this paper, and say, “ Fudge !” and pass on to another, I for one shall not be in the least mortified. If you say, “What does he mean by calling this paper On Two Children in Black, when there's nothing about people in black at all, unless the ladies he met (and evidently bored) at dinner, were black women ? What is all this egotistical pother? A plague on his I's!” My dear fellow, if you read “Montaigne's Essays," you must own that he might call almost any one by the name of any other, and that an essay on the Moon or an essay on Green Cheese would be as appropriate a title as one of his on Coaches, on the Art of Discoursing, or Experience, or what you will. Besides, if I have a subject (and I have) I claim to approach it in a roundabout manner.

You remember Balzac's tale of the Peau de Chagrin, and how every time the possessor used it for the accomplishment of some wish the fairy Peau shrank a little and the owner's life correspondingly shortened? I have such a desire to be well with my public that I am actually giving up my favorite story. I am killing my goose, I know I am. I can't teli my story of the children in black after this ; after printing it, and sending it through the country. When they are gone to the printer's these little things become public property. I take their hands. I bless them. I say, “Good-by, my little dears."

little dears." I am quite sorry to part with them: but the fact is, I have told all my friends about them already, and don't dare to take them about with me any more.

Now every word is true of this little anecdote, and I submit that there lies in it a most curious and exciting little mystery. I am like a man who gives you the last bottle of his 25 claret. It is the pride of his cellar ; he knows it, and he has a right to praise it. He takes up the bottle, fashioned so slenderly-takes it up tenderly, cants it with care, places it before his friends, declares how good it is, with honest pride, and

wishes he had a hundred dozen bottles more of the same wine in his cellar. Si quis novisti

, &c., I shall be very glad to hear from

you. I protest and vow I am giving you the best I have.

Well, who those little boys in black were, I shall never probably know to my dying day. They were very pretty little men, with pale faces, and large, melancholy eyes ; and they had beautiful little hands, and little boots, and the finest little shirts, and black paletots lined with the richest silk; and they had picture books in several languages, English, and French, and German, I remember. Two more aristocratic-looking little men I never set eyes on. They were travelling with a very handsome, pale lady in mourning, and a maid-servant dressed in black, too; and on the lady's face there was the deepest grief. The little boys clambered and played about the carriage, and she sat watching. It was a railway-carriage from Frankfort to Heidelberg

I saw at once that she was the mother of those children, and going to part from them. Perhaps I have tried parting with my own, and not found the business very pleasant. Perhaps í recollect driving down (with a certain trunk and carpet-bag on the box) with iny own mother to the end of the avenue, where we waited-only a few minutes—until the whirring wheels of that “ Defiance coach were heard rolling towards us as certain as death. Twang goes the horn ; up goes the trunk; down come the steps.

Bah ! I see the autumn evening : I hear the wheels now: I smart the cruel smart again : and, boy or man, have never been able to bear the sight of people parting from their children.

I thought these little men might be going to school for the first time in their lives ; and mamma might be taking them to the doctor, and would leave them with many fond charges, and little wistful secrets of love, bidding the elder to protect his younger brother, and the younger to be gentle, and to remember to pray to God always for his mother, who would pray for her boy too. Our party made friends with these young ones during the little journey ; but the poor lady was too sad to talk except to the boys now and again, and sat in her corner, pale, and silently looking at them.

The next day, we saw the lady and her maid driving in the direction of the railway-station, without the boys. The parting had taken place, then. That night they would sleep among strangers. The little beds at home were vacant, and poor mother might go and look at them. Well, tears flow, and friends part, and mothers pray every night all over the world.

I Qure say we went to see Heidelberg Castle, and admired the vast shattered walls, and quaint gables; and the Neckar running its bright course through that charming scene of peace and beauty; and ate our dinner, and drank our wine with relish. The poor mother would eat but litile Abendessen that night;

d, as for the children—that first night at school-hard ed, hard words, strange boys bullying, and laughing, and jarring you with their hateful merriment—as for the first night at a strange school, we most of us remember what that is. And the first is not the worst, my boys, there's the rub. But each man has his share of troubles, and, I suppose, you must

have yours.

From Heidelberg we went to Baden-Baden : and, I dare say, saw Madame de Schlangenbad and Madame de la Cruchecassée, and Count Punter, and honest Captain Blackball. And whom should we see in the evening, but our two little boys, waiking on each side of a fierce, yellow-faced, bearded man! We wanted to renew our acquaintance with them, and they were coming forward quite pleased to greet us. But the father pulled back one of the little men by his paletot, gave a grim scowl, and walked away. I can see the children now looking rather frightened away from us and up into the father's face, or the cruel uncle's—which was he? I think he was the father. So this was the end of them. Not school, as I at first had imagined. The mother was gone, who had given them the heaps of pretty books, and the pretty studs in the shirts, and the pretty silken clothes, and the tender-tender cares; and they were handed to this scowling practitioner of Trente et Quarante. Ah! this is worse than school. Poor little men ! poor mother sitting by the vacant little beds! We saw the children once or twice after, always in Scowler's company ; but we did not dare to give each other any marks of recognition.

From Baden we went to Basle, and thence to Lucerne, and so over the St. Gothard into Italy. From Milan we went to Venice; and now comes the singular part of my story. In Venice there is a little court of which I forget the name ; but in it is an apothecary's shop, whither I went to buy some remedy for the bites of certain animals which abound in Venice. Crawling animals, skipping animals, and humming, flying animals; all three will have at you at once; and one night nearly drove me into a strait-waistcoat. Well, as I was coming out of the apothecary's with the bottle of spirits of hartshorn in my hand (it really does do the bites a great deal of good), whom should I light upon but one of my liitle Heidelberg-Faden boys !

I have said how handsomely they were dressed as long as they were with their mother. When I saw the boy at Venice, who perfectly recognized me, his only garb was a wretched yellow cotton gown. His little feet, on which I had admired the little shiny boots, were without shoe or stocking. He looked at me, ran to an old hag of a woman, who seized his hand ; and with her he disappeared down one of the thronged lanes of the city.

From Venice we went to Trieste (the Vienna railway at that time was only opened as far as Laybach, and the magnificent Semmering Pass was not quite completed). At a station between Laybach and Graetz, one of my companions alighted for refreshment, and came back to the carriage saying :

" There's that horrible man from Baden, with the two little bors."

Of course, we had talked about the appearance of the little boy at Venice, and his strange altered garb. My companion said they were pale, wretched-looking, and dressed quite shabbily.

I got out at several stations, and looked at all the carriages. I could not see my little men. From that day to this I have never set eyes on them. That is all my story. Who were they? What could they be? How can you explain that mystery of the mother giving them up ; of the remarkable splendor and elegance of their appearance while under her care ; of their barefooted squalor in Venice, a month afterwards ; of their shabby habiliments at Laybach ? Had the father gambled away his money, and sold their clothes? How came they to have passed out of the hands of a refined lady (as she evidently was, with whom I first saw them) into the charge of quite a common woman like her wiih whom I saw one of the boys at Venice? Here is but one chapter of the story. Can any man write the next, or that preceding the strange one on which I happened to light? Who knows? the mystery may have some quite simple solution. I saw two children, attired like little princes, taken from their mother and consigned to other care; and a fort. night afterwards, one of them barefooted and like a beggar. Who will read this riddle of The Two Children in Black ?

ON RIBBONS.

The uncle of the present Sir Louis N. Bonaparte, K.G. &c., inaugurated his reign as Emperor over the neighboring nation by establishing an Order, to which all citizens of hi: country, military, naval, and civil--all men most distinguished in science, letters, arts, and commerce--were admitted. The emblem of the Order was but a piece of ribbon, more or less long or broad, with a toy at the end of it. The Bourbons had toys and ribbons of their own, blue, black, and all-colored ; and on their return to dominion such good old Tories would naturally have preferred to restore their good old Orders of Saiot Louis, Saint Esprit, and Saint Michel ; bat France had taken the ribbon of the Legion of Honor so to her heart that no Bourbon sovereign dared to pluck it thence.

In England, until very late days, we have been accustomed rather to pooh-pooh national Orders, to vote ribbons and crosses, tinsel gewgaws, foolish foreign ornaments, and so forth. It is known how the Great Duke (the breast of whose own coat was plastered with some half-hundred decorations) was averse to the wearing of ribbons, medals, clasps, and the like, by his army, We have all of us read how uncommonly distinguished Lord Castlereagh looked at Vienna, where he was the only gentleman present without any decoration whatever. And the Great Duke': theory was, tinat-clasps and ribbons, stars and garters, were good and proper ornaments for himself, for the chief officers of his distinguished army, and for gentlemen of high birth, who might naturally claim to wear a band of garter blue across their waistcoats ; but that for common people your plain coat, without stars and ribbons, was the most sensible wear.

And no doubt you and I are as happy, as free, as comfortable ; we can walk and dine as well; we can keep the winter's cold out as well, without a star on our coats, as without a feather in our hats. How often we have laughed at the absurd mania of the Americans for dubbing their senators, members of Congress, and States' representatives, Honorable! We have a right to call our Privy Councillors Right Honorable, our Lords' sons Honorable, and so forth : but for a nation as numerous, well educated, strong, rich, civilized, free as our own, to dare to give its distinguished citizens titles of honor-monstrous

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