"The prefect is extremely polite," I said to myself, "but is he afraid that people will forget their own names?" Some time afterwards, however, I learned that the Prefect of Antwerp was the stranger who had forwarded to me at Hamburg,—through a third person,—the notice of the removal of the name of La Colombe,—with whom he had formerly been very intimate. Then I had the key to the enigma, and understood his kindness, discretion, and genial banter, for instead of signing the visé to my passport, he could have told me openly that I was an impostor, and I should have had no right to com- plain.
I ought to mention, as a matter of historical accuracy, that I am not quite sure, at this length of time, whether it was the prefect or the secretary-general with whom I had to do, but at this period there were many instances besides mine, in which functionaries did all they could to modify the rigours of the Osselin law. A certain great personage, whom I will not name, may perhaps remember this incident, which is