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3rd V.R. Welsh Regiment.


i"" in-A,,f-1Tlr CAUGHT AT…


strong upon him, growing deeper every minute, that he had either encountered the manager before, or had known some one very much like him. Unabashed, M. Fa'lanrlet instantly rose, with his accustomed confidence. <') the exigency of his position. Boldly assuming that Van Hawker had of course dis- cussed with him, as manager, the entire matter of White's engagement, he went a step further, and implied that the engagement itself was solely under- taken at his desire. Veil, M. Vhite," said Parl, be seated, I pray. You are, then, the gentleman of whom M. van Flewker has spoken to me so high. Charmed to have the pleasure to make your estimable acquaint- ance." Truly the way of the transgressor is hard In his eagerness to show himself possessed of his principal's entire confidence, M. Parlandet rather overshot the mark. You are obliging, sir," said matter-of-fact Raymond, but I think there is some mistake. Mr. van Flewker never saw me till a quarter of an hour ago, and could hardly have commended a man he did not know." "But certainly, my very dear sir," floundered Pari, trying hopelessly to get his foot upon some secure footing, and, as usual with such persons, finding his refuge in a lie, of a surety you are that gentelman who did write to Mr. van Flewker, it is now some days, to offer your service ?" On the contrary, sir, it was Mr. van Flewker who wrote to his Liverpool agent, who selected me," returned Raymond. chap 5 j Aha! it is that of what I am thinking! To be sure, to be sure; you have assuredly reason!" exclaimed Parlandet, believing he saw through the entire plot against his peace of mind. It was von other gentelman who did occupy my toughts. You are de Mr. Vhite who is to assist me in de Vest-end bureau. Ah, monsieur! a most important charge, bel-ieve me. The affairs are of the most delicate, and require a tact, an ability, a knowledge of de vorld not easily acquire. You are very young, M. Vhite, are you not ?" Twenty-eight, sir. I have been in mercantile houses ever since the age of fourteen. The deuce!" thought Pari. This is serious. Here's a fellow it will not be easy to deceive. Charmed to learn the interesting fact, M. Vhite," he continued, aloud. Delightful to obtain the assistance of so experienced a collaborator. Without doubt, ve shall vork in a manner of the most amicable." Some mystery about this man thought straight- forward Raymond. He pays too many compliments for me, and, for a manager, knows strangely little of his principal's mind. I must be upon my guard. but his face-his face Where have I seen those crafty eyes ? They grow more'familiar every time I look at him." "Veil, my very dear M. Vhite," observed Parl, smiling sweetly, though inwardly a-boil with rage and vexation, you did hear the instruction of my- indeed, I may say of our-worthy principal as he go avay. I am to report him to-morrow of your abilities. It is, of course, von mere matter of form dat I ask two tree leetle question, I should not tink to submit you to formal examination, like von school- boy-ha! ha!" I am quite ready to answer anything you may think proper to ask, M. Parlandet," returned White, quietly. Deuce take the cold-blooded English fish !"fumed Parl, internally. Then, with an air of extremest complaisance, proceeded to question Raymond in French as to the present state of commerce across the Sleeve, as he called the Channel. chap 5 To Parl's astonishment the young man replied in easy and idiomatic terms. Not with the purest ac- cent, perhaps; the most Continentally-minded child cf Bull can rarely rid his speech entirely of the Saxon burr; and White, Lancashire born, was not freer from the peculiarity than most provincials. But, apart from this even Pa was compelled to admit hia tcquaintance with the language and state of trade in France to be amply sufficient for all commercial snds. He changed his tactics, and suddenly shot into German. Here he met his match. The Englishman was more at home in the tongue of the Teuton than in that of the Gaul. M. Parlandet could not avoid complimenting White upon the ease and purity with which he spoke (German, and White did not consider it necessary to state that he had acquired his know- ledge in a Prussian counting-house. He would have stated the fact unhesitatingly, had he been asked, but Parl's previous floundering had put him upon his guard, and Raymond White belonged to those men who never require to learn their lesson twice. The strange sense of having seen his questioner before grew upon White the longer they conversed. In vain he ransacked his memory. It failed to answer to the call. After all, it was hardly possible that they couid have ever met. This was his first visit to London, where M. Parlandet had probably lived for years. Still, it was possible they might have en- eountered abroad, and Raymond rapidly ran over in his mind the circumstances of his German life. But he could not recall any probable occasion, and finally gave up the attempt. As I did have the honour to cbserve, my very dear M. Vhite," said Parl, the leetel question I have ask you is pure matter of form. I shall have much pleasure in to M. van Flewker to-morrow your perfect eiffciency. But there is von oder trifling point it is perhaps necessary that ve discuss. It is dat delicate question so unpleasant to handle, so impos-sible to do vithout-de question of money." That question," said White, must, of course be discussed as openly as any other. May I ask if you are authorised to treat with me upon the sub- ject ?" But certainly, dear monsieur," he replied. "Vhat are your expectations ?" Wute united Llie remuneration he considered fair. me propositMn was received by M. Parlandet with hands and eyes. in protest at its enormity. but, my most, dear M. Vhite," he exclaimed, "that is of a vent ,• im-tnense. Pardon me if I request you to re-consider your demand. M. van Flewker will nev-are consent to re-munerate your services— valuable as I aamit they would be—at so large a -rate." b The Fa,1ary asked by Raymond White was less than half the sum the merchant paid to M. Napoleon- Victoire Parlandet for precisely similar service. It .is one thing, however, to bargain for yourself; en- tirely different to beat down the claim of another in the hope of gaining favour. Excuse me, sir," said Raymond I am well aware of the usual rate of a correspondent's pay. The su n I the lowest ever given to a man able r owo languages fluently besides tits own. If that is M. van Flewker's decision, our nego- tiation must end at once." The horrid bluntness of Raymond White quite disconcerted Par). It occurred to him, however, that he might yet extricate himself from the diffi- culty by postponing its discussion. It would be easy, in his interview with Van Flewker to represent that the really moderate sum Raymond requested had been reduced from a more exorbitant demand by his talent for bargaining; and he would still gain credit with the merchant. Perhaps it vill be veil to put off de decision until I have spoke M. Van Flewker," he resumed. "It is possible I may persuade him to meet your vish." Pardon me, M. Parlandet," said Raymond, but I prefer transacting my affairs myself. I understood you to say you were authorised to decide this matter. The sum I have named I know to be moderate, and it is the least I can accept. You say you are satisfied with my attainments. Will you favour me with a direct answer at once ?" It was hard for Parl to be forced to give up this opportunity of gaining credit with the merchant for business talents at so cheap a rate; but straight- forward Raymond left him no alternative. With a sigh, therefore, he consented to the proposed arrangement, though foreseeing sad future trouble in store with so impracticable a colleague. White was requested to call upon the merchant the day after to conclude the bargain, and took his leave. "\Diantre! soliloquised M. Parlandet, left in possession of the sanctum. This is von very devil of a man. I have not yet seen a young fellow of his age so determined. Alas! alas! he shall give me much vexation in the future. Veil, if he should grow too troublesome with his conscience, I tink I know a remedy. And a very sinister gleam shot from M. Parlan- det's eye as he concluded his sentence, and set forth upon his return to his comfortable "quarters in Pall Mall. "Where have I seen that man before?" repeated Raymond White, as he strolled that afternoon in Kensington Gardens. I must have met him previously, yet, for the life of me, I cannot recollect where. There is an expression in his eyes that I should recognise among ten thousand. Where, when, and how have our paths crossed before ?" While Raymond is brushing up his memory to decide the knotty point of his previous acquaintance with M. Napoleon-Victoire Parlandet, I will tell you, if you will allow me, a little story. chap 5 CHAPTER VI. THE STORY OF ANNA MARRIS. JUST two years before the time when Mynheer Fabian van Flewker wrote the letter which resulted in Ray- mond White's visit to London, a young German girl, with an infant in her arms, was brought before a Liverpool magistrate, charged with larceny. She had stolen bread. The girl was manifestly in ill-health. A racking cough tore her feeble frame during the examination. She spoke but little English, and that little so imperfectly that, though evidently anxious to exculpate herself from the crime charged against her, no one in the court could understand her story. An interpreter was procured, and the prisoner made the following statement:— My name is Anna Marris. I came to this place a fortnight ago from London, to wait forM. Louis with whom I was to go to Australia." Who is M. Louis ?" asked the interpreter. The girl was confused, blushed, stammered a few unintelligible words, and was silent. Well," he repeated. Can't you hear ? Who is M. Louis ?" A-a-a friend-that is, my husband," stammered the girl. What is his trade or business." I think he is a clerk," was the answer. You think ? Do you mean to say you do not know your husband's occupation ? N-no, sir, not exactly." "Is this M. Louis the father of that child?" asked the interpreter. Yes," said the girl, in a low voice. The interpreter exchanged a significant glance with the magistrate as he translated the reply. Very well," he said, go on with your story." M. Louis had written down for me the name of the hotel where I was to wait for him. Here it is. When I got to the station. and asked for the place, they told me there was no such hotel in the town. I had very little money. M. Louis took my ticket in London, and gave me the few shillings of change. That was all I had. The first week I lodged at a public-house near the railway, every morning I went with my baby to the station, to wait for M. Louis, but he never came, and I think now "—here the voice grew thick with suppressed tears-" I think, now, he sent me away to get rid of me and my baby, and never meant to come." Where is the public-house at which you say you lodged ?" asked the interpreter. "I do not know, sir," answered the girl. I could not tell the name of a street in the town." She may be speaking truth," observed the magistrate, kindly," as she is, evidently, a stranger in Liverpool." Well, how did you come to take the loaf from the baker's shop ?" inquired the interpreter. When I had been at the public-house a week," continued Anna Marris, my money was all gone, and I asked the landlord what I should do. I could not understand what he said. The people here all talk so strange-not like the London folks. I made out, however, that he would not keep me there any longer. There could be no mistake about it, for he took me by the arm, pushed me out of the door, and shut it upon me. It was raining hard at the time, and I did not know where to go. If it had only been my- self, I should not have cared so much, but I had my baby to look to, and what could I do ?" chap 6