CAUGHT AT LAST; OB, THE FELON'S BRAND. a(Tmrrers of the fascinating actress was Mynheer Jobst van Flewker. The taerchant fell a victim at once, without a struggle. Here was the charming creature of whom he had so !ccg sighed here were the delight, the happiness, the ever-varying entertainment, the bliss he had so vainly fought in the commonplace daughters of Van Broun, Van Jonah, and Van Robinsonk. Could he transplant this goddess to his nreside, make her the companion pf his future life, how blest wcu'd be his lot' What a. mother must a creature so gifted make to his children ? Jobst turned the matter over in his mind for a week, then sought an interview with Rosalba vanLevissen; told his name, his standing, his position; explained to her the amount of his riches, and asked }her point blank to become his wife. The tady fequested a couple of days for deliberation, which Van Flewker immediately conceded, and took his !$tve. Chap 2 Upon the appointed day the merchant hastened to t)ls charmer's house, and was transported with the Kply which issued from beneath the folds ofRc8=nba's Handkerchief, modestly hiding a face which did not blush. The ardent lover made eager preparations for the Wedding, the approach of which he communicated to Pieter Maritzburg. The old man's face assumed a crave and earnest look when he heard the news. Mynheer," said the trusty Pieter, "I hope that What you tell me is not true. You are aware that your nonoured house has always intermarried with the Van Brouns, the Van Jonahs, or the Van Robin- §onhs. You know, too, it was the desire of my late worthy master—heaven rest his soul!—that you should Select a wife from one of these three families. I hope, tnynheer, you will not act contrary to your honoured father's wish." My worthy Pieter," replied Jobst, it is quite tmpossible my father's wishes in this respect can be obeyed. In choosing a wife, a man must please him- self. He has to live with her, not with his defunct ancestors, like the old Egyptians, and he mast use his judgment." "But, mynheer, there is another circumstance which feeders this choice particularly repugnant——" com- B9teoced Pieter. Mind what you say, Master Pieter shouted Jobst. M My future wife is not to be spoken of with dis- respect." Chap 2 "Dear, dear!" groaned luckless Pieter. "These 13eadstrong young men! But do you know, mynheer, that this worn—this lady, I mean-is positively not even a Christian. She is a pagan, a heretic, or Worse, a Jewess. It is impossible, unheard of, Sacrilegious almost, that a Van Flewker should wed a Jewess!" Is she ?" said Jobst, indifferently. Really I didn't 'now it-nor, worthy Pieter, will that in any way glter my resolution. Juffrow Rosalba will be your raster's wife within a month." "Mynheer! mynheer ejaculated Pietfr, in great glistress. "It cannot be. It must not be. The <p'eatest misfortunes will happen if this match takes place." And the old man wrung his hands. pis pertinacity aroused Jobst's attention. What 11ean you, Pieter ?" he inquired. What misfortune t<m happen if I marry one I love ?" a- I dare not say more, master, t)Ut be warned In jthne. I repeat most solemnly, the greatest ill wil (tapper to vou if you make this match." Chap 21 The wedding-day arrived. Jobst and the lovely Rosalba were married according to both Protestant Md Jewish rites; the latter at the lady's especial Desire, who felt naturally anxious there should be no mistake about the validity of the ceremony. To lobst's extreme surprise, the entire families of the three rejected damsels attended at church, and witnessed the proceedings with perfect composure. although the bridegroom thought this proceceding in bad taste, he was glad to perceive they were so far feconci'ed o their disappointment; but was again puzzled to perceive a, significant grin distend the features of each broad countenance as he led his bride down the aisle. In an adjacent pew Jobst noticed the woe-begone face of Pieter Maritzburg, whose withered Cheeks were stained with tears. When the honeymoon had come to an end, Jobst van Flewker and his wife returned to Rotterdam. They found a, crowd upon the quay when they left the Steamer to seek the merchant's carriage, which by Some oversight "as not in waiting. The townspeople ranged themselves in two lines, as if at a strange Sight, Jobst and his wife passing up the middle to the hired vehicle that had been obtained. The driver was Ordered to take them to Van FIewkcr's house. "Very careless of Pieter not to have sent the Carriage," said Jobst. I wrote to tdl him when we Should arrive." The droschky drew up at Jobst van Flewker's mansion. Open Hew the door as the vehicle stopped, and out stepped the respectable citizens Van Hroun, Van Jonah, and Van Robinsons, Pieter Maritxburg, hovering dismay in the background. "Welcome home, Mynheer Jobst van FIev.ker [' exclaimed' the three men, bowing and smiling, with a particular emphasis on the word home." You are very good gentlemen," said Jobst, alighting, and assisting big wife from the vehicle. "But a'5 this happens to be my house, perhaps it would be better if the welcome came from me. The three men laughed—a hard, unpleasant laugh; the laugh of men who gloat upon another's woe. Walk in, mynheer," said Van Broun. We have a communication to make to you." Van Flewker looked at his wife. who was clinging icohisarm. A horrid suspicion for an instant smote his soul but he drove it away manfully, and walked ;nto the house. Pieter Maritzburg leading the way, and the three citizens following. When thfv entered the large dining saloon, Jobst Was astonished to And it nlled with the relatives and acquaintances of the men who had met him at the door. He turner upon Pieter savagely. "Tell me this instant, old man," he exclaimed, ''the meaning of this assembly! Why do I find mine gnemies in mine house." Pieter turned to the burshers, mutely. Tell him, Pieter Maritxbm'g," was the rep'y. Mynheer Jobst van Flewker," said Fieter, pblemnly, son of my Ia.te honoured master, and Descendant of the house my: fathers a,nd I have served prom our youth up, listen to me." He drew a paper from his breast and con- tine_d-
lw-,h a 0 Printing of every Description p, ■ —
Executed at the Chronicle Office, Penarth.
nns aocument is the last win and testament ot your honoured father, drawn up and executed by him, in the presence of a notary of this town, as by law ordained and appointed, shortly before his death. Shall I read the will ?" "It is false," cried Jobst, nercely ;"my father nevet made a will Show it to me, I say He started forward, tore the document from Pieter'! nands, dashed over the leaves, and recognised his father's well-known signature at the conclusion. His face grew white and rigid. "It is a forgery!" he cried, wrenching at the parchment, in the vain attempt to tear the leaves asunder. They held his hands, took the will from his despe- rate clutch, and gave it back to Pieter. TeU him what the will says," exclaimed a com- passionate bystander. The purport of the testament is this," continued Pieter. "'Mynheer Hendrijk van Flewker desires that his son. Mynheer Jobst, shall enter into the bonds of wedlock with JuSrouw Hedwig van Broun, Juffrouw Margret van Jonah, or Juffrouw Katrina van Robinsonk, in which case the entire property of Mynheer Hendrijk comes into the possession of hie son, the said Mynheer Jobst. But upon this condition abac can the young Man inherit. If he abstain from marriage for five years after the decease of Mynheer Hendrijk; or marrying, wed any other person than one of the damsels above-named, then, and in that case, from the expiration of one month after the said term of nvc years', or from the date of such his marriage, Mynheer Jobst shall forfeit all right to the property of Mynheer Hendrijk whatsoever. The said property shall be then divided into two parts: one moiety being equally apportioned as dowry to each of the three damsels aforesaid; the other moiety being devoted to the endowment of a refuge for the widows and orphans of distressed and castaway mariners. Mynheer Hendrijk van FIewker makes this disposition of his property to test the nlial obedience of his son, Mynheer Jobst. Upon which account Pieter Maritxburg, who is entrusted with the execu- tion of this testament, is solemnly aud strictly charged, as he values his Soul's satvation, to keep the said testament secret from the said Jobst until, by the conditions of the will, the ultimate disposi- tion of the said property may have been deter- mined.' The old man's voice, which had faltered per- ceptibly as he read the concluding paragraph, broke down completely as he approached its close, and the final words could only be heard by those at his side. Low as they were spoken, however, they were loud enough for the wretched Jobst. The blast of a thousand trumpets could not have sounded more terrific in his startled ears. He turned a despairing eye upon his wife, clasped his hands together above his head, and ejaculating, "Lost! lost! beggared! oh, my Rosalba!" felt heavily, with a wailing cry, upon the Boor. Pieter and Rosalba rushed to his assistance. Ser- vants were called, who carried Jobst to a bedroom, whilst others were sent to summon a physician. Van Broun, Van Jonah, Van Robinsonk, and their ad- herents, who had surveyed the scene with phlegmatic calm, regarding it rather as a pleasant spectacle for which there was nothing to pay, waited for a time, upon the chance of anything more occurring for their delectation, then stolidly went their way, discussing the chances of Jobst's life or reason surviving the overtlirow of his fortunes. Chap 2 Meanwhile, in the room above, Jobst had recovered consciousness, only to pass from prostration to raving despair. In vain Pieter, the tears rolling down his aged cheeks, implored his master to be calm in vain Rosalba,her native goodness of heart shining through the terrible shock of the discovery, besought him not to grieve over the fortune he had lost, and assured him she cared nothing for riches so t'nat he remained to her. Jobst was not to be packed. He railed at Pieter's reticence, cursed his father's reHned and horrible cruelty in the dispositions of the testament, and swore, if there was la.w or justice left in Holland, to overturn the will. But Nature would not b" denied. Late in the night he sank into a troubled slumber, over which the watchers, Age and Affection, kept anxious ward. When Jobst awoke next day his ma.la.dy ha.d assumed a different phase. Sulten :tnd gloomy de- spondency replaced the violent passion of the previous night. Not a word would he utter, not a sign would he give. No refreshment could be forced upon him. Dark, deep, and brooding mf\ncholy settled down upon his features ;I.t:) a m!!k. Thus four days passed. Chap 2 Early in the nfth day, as the jrey tints of dawn were stealing into the sky, and birds were twittering merrily among the trees in the garden, this was the sight that might have been seen in Jobst van Flewker's sick chamber. A figure lying on a bed, on one side of which sits an old man, upon the other a young woman, haggard t, and worn for want of rest. By degrees the eyes of both the watchers close, their heads nod gradually forward, then settle upon their breasts. They sleep. Silence reigns in the sick-room. Presently the recumbent figure in the bed uncloses his eyes. 'With quick and vivid gaxe his glance darts from one guard to the other. Btill they sleep. At last, then, the long-watched opportunity has come Very slowly, very cautiously, the ngure slides one leg from beneath the bedding; the other limb follows. Slowly, still slowly—hush !—he glides, as the snako glides over brushwood, noiselessly, stealthily, for- wards, till he stands erect upon the Boor. Hush! still the watchers sleep. Gently, gently, as the footfall of the moccassined Indian following up the trail, unheard, almost invisibly, the maniac steps on tiptoe to his dressing- table, opens a case, dr&ws rapidly forth a glittering blade, passes his fingers cautiously along its edge. It S sharp, it is true a vacant smile lights up his features. Wagging his head to and fro, he mops and mows at his image in the glass. At this moment the female watcher wakens with a start. Is it a, dream has warned her, or the faithful instinct o! a loving heart ? Her first glance is to thi¡! bed. Empty She springs to her feet with a shrielk, sees the gibbering form at the table, and rushes towards it. Too late Too late'. A roar, as of a wild beast bounding upon its booty, fills the a.ir. A ila.sh, a sweep c'f the shining blade, and the lunatic suicide falls prostrate at appalled Eosalba's feet. The old man, roused from the heavy jeep of wearied age by the clamour, sees two bodies, male and female, lying across each other in a dreadful reeking pool. His poor dazed eyes at nrst can hardly realise the awful truth. But when it breaks upon him in all 't<-
naked Mdeousness, a..passionate lament Bursts'from his overburdened breast, almost in the words of the Warrior King of old:— My master! oh, my master! Would that I hac! given mine aged life for thine The Email, many-breeched Dutch boy of whom I spoke as living some forty years ago in Rotterdam, is the only fruit of that ill-starred union, and you will make his acquaintance presently under the name of Fabiar CHAPTER III. THE SPIDER'S WEB. You know now the stock from which Fabian van Flewker sprang. You shall next become acquainted with the man as he was when the events hereinafter set forth took place. After the death of her husband, Rosalba lived in quiet and retirement until the birth of her boy. Then, by degrees, she resumed the practice of her profession. But whether the spirit of clanship among the Rotterdam burghers was strong against her, whether her unhappy story becoming known throughout the country unjustly prejudiced Dutch audiences, I am unable to say. It is enough to know that her popularity in Holland was at an end. After vainiy struggling against the current for several years, she wisely yielded to necessity, and removed to Paris. Even Pieter Maritzburg, pitiful at nrst, finally turned his back upon the woman to whom he attributed the downfall of his master's house. Fabian grew up with a Dutch intellect and a Dutch bias, upon which was grafted a French educa-tion. From his father he inherited liberality of mind, and an original mode of thought which led him to strike out a path for himself, and positively to indulge in ideas. From his Hebrew mother he derived shrewd- ness, prudence, caution, an ardent love of making money, and a passion for bargaining, with which the Jew seems born. By preference, he bargains with the Gentile; still, rather than not bargain at &I1, one Jew will chaffer with another, in tones that become shriller and shriller as the discussion proceeds, and with expressions a tithe of which would make two Saxons enemies for life, but which they only look upon as a part of the excitement and pleasantry inci- dental to a mercantile transaction. It is not surprising, then, that Fabian van Flewl,-er, having, as we know, blood of the peculiar people in his veins, early decided that money-dealing was to be the object of his life. He served as junior clerk in the house of the great Baron Dathan von Redshield in the imperial city of Frankfort-on-the-Maine; Studied his profession later under that master of the art, Manasses ben Judah, at Amsterdam; and perfected his education subsequently in the change de mommcKe (Money-changers' office) of MM. Levi, Moise, and Company, upon the Goldsmiths' Quay at Paris. Then his mother died, leaving to Fabian, at that time about nve-and-twenty, the not inconsiderable savings of her professional career. With this sum lie was enabled to purchase an interest in the house of Levi and Co., where he was then a sub- ordinate, and Anally, upon the retirement of the senior partner, to represent in his single person the entire nrm. In 1849 Van Flewker broke up his Paris establish- ment, and migrated to London. Bullets and bombs were not infrequent in Paris streets about that time; and Van Flewker, as a prudent trader, not having much faith in the stability of things in France, con- sidered it would be more advantageous to pursue his calling upon British ground. Therefore you find his name upon the door-posts of 99, Augustine- close. Fabian van Flewker and Co.—the Co., as previously stated, being a myth—started in business as mer- chants and general foreign agents;" designations about as conveniently vague perhaps as it would be possible to adopt. They were money-changers and foreign bankers they dabbled in discounts and mort- gages, of a safe and lucrative kind they were agents for all the foreign lotteries in and out of being, they inserted advertisements in newspapers all over the world; they collected debts through their correspon- dents in the principal Continental towns, they pro- vided English schools with masters and governesses from abroad, and foreign seminaries with teachers of the English tongue in short, constituted them- selves useful middle-men between John Bull and the foreigner. Upon everything the firm undertook they charged a. per-centage or commission. In every case, it was a principle," said the firm, to be paid that per-centage or commission in advance; loss was, therefore, almost impossible. Hardly any transaction was too insignificant for the nrm, scarcely any operation too large. If an alderman wanted a courier, they found one in an incredibly short space of time;' if the Emperor of China wanted a steamer, they bought him one; always, of course, charging the usual per-centage. If an oppressed and down-trodden nationality wished to raise the funds requisite for throwing off the usurper's yoke, and applied to Van Flewker and Co. for that laudable purpose, proffering as security notes upon the national treasury, payable when the aforesaid yoke had been removed, the eminent nrm cheerfully undertook the business; and from even, the most u1\(Jromising schemes the genius of the house managed to extract some profit. The firm grew in the estimation of the public. It began to be known in the City that if any out-of- the-way information was required, it was to be obtained at the new establishment. The business prospered. At nrst confined to the narrow omce in Augustine Close, it waxed until, like an over-fed email, it grew too large for its dwelling. A mar: of less astuteness than the proprietor would have removed to larger premises, and- have made his firm more public by greater show. Not so sagacious Van Flewker. In place of launching into useless outlay, he divided his responsibilities. A handsoma suite of chambers was taken in Pal! Mall, in which an omce was established. This branch was styled the West-end department, and M. Napoleon-Victoire Parlandet appointed to its command. Hither v.'as transported the discount and mortgage business, the portion of the operations of the nrm which required more display, more glitter, than was necessary in the Close- A further diversion 1vasmade by. setting Up an extensive warehouse down '\Vapph''g way, for the supply of sailors' stores and stops, and the judicious advance of money upon the pay-notes of improvident mariners. This, proving an extremely proiitable- bra;ich of the concert), might not inaptly have been styled the Mi!ch-cow Department," acting mainly as a feeder to the rest. Greater extension stilt was acqu'red by the formation of a branch at Hamburg, placed in charge of a tried and trustworthy agent, to was con-f.dfd the c.trc of Ccntincnia.t ai<'airs. Tiie hea.d and director of the wMe, passing his l time cli:e3y in trave!)!')g from branch to branch, and superintending a.11, was Mynheer F&bian van