--=-=-== CAUGHT AT LAST; OR, THE FELON'S BRAND. [ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.] CHAPTER VIII. M. PARLANDET'S GRAND IDEA. s, for a time, the matter ended. The clerks and Parl re-lighted their cigars, which had gone out during the little excitement. The merchant-seasoned Old smoker !-had puffed away as steadily as ever throughout the colloquy. They ranged themselves ground the desk again, and the business of the council le,commenced. "Nothing new from Italy," observed Van Flewker. « De siege of G-aeta continues. Garibaldi is still in Naples, waiting to surrender de Governmentto Victor Bmipajiual. Keported he will return to Caprera. Is 9&id to have refused a pension, and to be heavily in jebt.. What opportunities dat man has trown away fhjlphur rising. Have we done anyting in sulphur, btely, Meestare Vhiffie." 41 Very little, sir," returned the cashier. » M. van Flewker !here broke in Pari, excitedly l' J have idea.; magnificent, superb! It occur to me. tome days ago, but I forget to tell you at the time, and it go gradually out of my head. Now, see what wonderful thing is that association of ideas! By the fimple mention of von leetel word, I sulphur,' it all rush back again in one big volume, like the roar of a Cataract. Aha exclaimed M. I'arlandet, pressing his hands upon lÚs large rfd ears, and dancing about the room in transport, what mighty flood of grand impressions rush upon my brain! My honoured patron, I congratulate you. The philosopher's stone of the nineteenth century is lie at your feet, and only wait for you to pick him up." "Let us hear your idea, M. FarlandRt," returned the merchant, leaning calmly back in his chair, and looking hxedly at the manager. M. van Flewker," re-commenced Pari, in his native tongue, plain Saxon being not enough tor his present geeds, that which I have now to propose is opera- tion of the most serious. It involves-ali rather, what does it not involve ? The penetrated genius of my most honoured patron alone is capable to execute pay plan. There lives upon this earth but one man competent to carry it to a conclusion the most sue, cossful., Who can he be but the very honoured and ipuch distinguished Monsieur Fabian van Flewker Here M. Parlandet performed his lowest bow. "Well, M. Parlandet," remarked the merchant, « come to the point, if you please, and favour me with your idea." He was not averse to receiving this coarse flattery even from Parlandet, and in the presence of his clerks. Indeed, he rather liked them to hear it than other- wise. As, proverbially, if a man be plentifully be- spattered with mud, some of it is sure to stick, so Van Flewker believed that M. Parlandet's incessant ;cu laudatiori of his talents and perspicuity could not but p,ve tfle effect, in time, of producing a salutary jeyerence an" awe in the auditor's minds. "Ah! but it is keen, this intellect exclaimed Pari, addressing the ceiling. It is subtle, refined, fcut cutting, like—like—like a stiletto with von double edge M. Parlandet felt rather at a loss for a simtle bere. As he never shaved, probably the stock com- parison of sharp as a razor," did not,enter his mind. I dare say, therefore, he spoke of an instrument more familiar to his hand. M. Fabian van Flewker, I pray you, listen Some nights ago, lying awake upon my humble pallet, revolving as of habitude, in my active brain a variety of projects, all tending to promote the interests of this illustrious house, and the prosperity of its munificent head, sudden, as by a flash of lightning, Inspiration darted into my soul!" Inspiration, in this instance, was represented by a (Surfeit of pork chops, fried potatoes, cucumber salad, jndijBurton ale, a supper of which the manager was inordinately fond. 41 What do I ?" continued M. Parlandet. I throw pff the coverlet—I rise-I perambulate the room, my great idea working, boiling, fermenting like a barrel of yeast in my soul. In vain I essay to cool the agitation of my blood. I seize the water-flask. Horror It is void I fly to the window. I bathe • tny fevered brow, my parched lips in the pallid light of the argent moon, shining with mild, benevolent eye upon the great city wrapt in slumber before my view. By degrees kind Nature sheds her genial calmness into my troubled spirit. There, in that solemn nocturnal hour, my grand idea evolves itself distinctly out of the chaos of unexecuted plans, and rises a vast,, majestic temple before my view. It is true," jldded M. Parlandet, pensively, I catch myself a frightful cold, but—what matter ? I have saved my tlenefactor 1" He wiped his- hands upon his handkerchief, passed it over his heated face, and looked round at his hearers. 17he attitude of the man, and the expression of bis countenance were so completely those pf a ranting actor who considers he has made a point, that White turned away to hide a smile. Kleckser looked on with an expression of intense enjoyment. WhifHes and Gwillim, who had not understood ail the rhapsody, glanced at each other with raised eyebrows, and a cast of face that seemed to say, his old game! frying to humbug'the governor again." Upon the merchant himself M. Parlandet's high- flown language apparently produced but small effect. Be surveyed the performance with a calmly-critical tJr, as a man regards .the feats of a clever juggler, engaged at a high price for his own special amusement; podded his head, and observed coolly- "Very good, M. Parlandet. Pray continue. That fa onlv the overture. Be so kind now as to raise the curtain. < Saved my benefactor I believe is the cue. Please do not forget to tell us from what danger the nefactor-meaning me, I presume much obliged- has been saved." As an acrobat, whose first feats of strength, though feceived with civil plaudits, have not excited much enthusiasm, bounds with renewed vigour upon the Stage to execute a trick of skill that, shall bring own the house, so M. Parlandet at an Flewker's gibe. chap 8 "But monsieur is hard upon the humblest of his plaves," he exclaimed, with fawning adulation. He is pleased to mock himself at the respectful yet eager interest the poor Parlandet presumes to feel in further- ing his fortunes. Monsieur inquire from what peril it has been my proud and happy privilege to preserve Iny benefactor? Then I say boldly, he is saved by JtlY idea from the labour and trouble of continued |QH, from the disapgsintment of gassing a long life in
Printing' of every Description
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object, and or falTii$g to 1 secure it at the end. From all this the grand idea which I go to reveal has saved my benefactor, for it will raise him to the height of a colossal for- tune. I think you may go on to the idea, now, M. Par- landet," said the merchant, drily, with a quirk about the corners of his mouth; for the pathos of Parl's last image, and the lugubrious tone in which that gentle- man contemplated sacrificing himself to gain a for- tune for another, almost overset his gravity. My honoured benefactor, I shall at once comply with your desire," responded M. Parlandet, briskly. He believed he had now sufficiently prepared the way to introduce his idea. "First, I shall enquire, whether yau have not lately seen in the journals an account of the enormous sums expended in this country by advertisers. One firm is stated as paying yearly ten thousand pounds; another, seven thou- sand others, in like proportiou. You have seen this, my patron ?" I may have," returned the merchant, cautiously. 41 Is your great idea based upon my doing the same?" But, most esteemed monsieur, can you believe it for a moment ? No; my idea rests upon far more solid grounds. Yet it is in so far connected with this my question, that I shall ask another. What are these fabrics in such general use that their vendors can ex- pend mighty sums to bring them before the public, and yet gain enormous profits ?" « What are they, Meestare Vhiffle ?" inquired the merchant of his cashier, translating the question. "Well, patent medicines chiefly, sir, I believe," answered Whiffles. Surely, Mounseer Parlandet don't mean to speculate that way." Surely, Monsieur Parlandet does mean to speculate that way," retorted the manager. "That is to say," he added, raising his hand deprecatingly, with a dif- ference. These people who sell the patent medicines incur expense. First, their medicines cost something —it little-to prepare next, they take out a patent to secure the right of sale. By my plan we should be at no expense at all, or at so little that it is not worthy to consider." "Then, sir," observed Whiffles, addressing the merchant, if I understand Mounseer Parlandet rights the long and the short of this grand idea is, tl-iat v; s are to turn to quack medicine-sellers." Al-low M. Parlandet to continue, Meestare Vhiffle, Çf you please. He has not yet develop his idea fully," Van Flewker, watching the smoke-wreaths curl- ing up from his cigar. chap -8 As I go to rem-ark, when interrupt byM. Vhiffle," continued Parl, with a venomous glance at the cashier, our expense to prep-are what I think to vend would 9e little or none. I propose, not that we should well medicines, but that we should sell recipes—recipes prescribed by physicians of reputa- tion, to cure*every dis-ease and ailment under the cun. Colds, coughs, corns, fevers, chapped hands, chilblains, bile, pimples, indigestion, heartburn, •spasms, headache, flatulence You needn't proceed with de list, M. Parlandet," remarked Van Flewker. "We can read it ouuselves in de newspapers." Weak eyes, sore throat, quinsy, gout, rheu- I matism, paralysis," continued Pari, disregarding the interruption in his enthusiasm; "in short, every possible illness that ever can arise. The recipes will naturally be procured from physicians of celebrity. Then they shall be print, then they shall be advertise. Not m England alone-all over the world! In E-urope, in Asia, in Afrique, in America,, you shall teach the l people how to cure themselves. Your agents shall I post placards of the famous Recipes of Fabian van Flewker and Company in every part of the habitable globe. A traveller shall ascend Mont Blanc. There, in a glass bottel, among the glaciers and eternal I snows, he shall find an infallible method to get rid of his corns. Tourists shall climb to the summit of the pyramid of Gheops. The first thing that sharll strike them in the eye shall be the means to improve their breath with certainty and ease. I see in this idea the germ, the seed-corn, which shall grow up into one mighty tree, overshadowing all the earth with the glories of Van Flewker's name. He shall achieve one great, one stupendous, one overwhelming, one unheard- of fortune; and he shall then think a little in his pros- perity upon his humble Parlandet, who has done it all." Raymond Wh'te could hardly believe his ears. Was this preposterous folly, this extravagant rhodomontade, ushered in by 31. Parlandet with such a flourish of trumpets—this the grand idea was to make Van Flewker's instant fortune ? This rabid, insane, imprac- ticable piece of buffoonery a project seriously proposed by a man possessing all his senses to be seriously entertained by another as a desirable and lucrative I investment ? Raymond expected every moment to | see the merchant start from his chair, seize Parlandet !by the ears, and kick him out of his room. No such thing. There stood the clerks, gravely pondering— there sat Van Flewker, gravely considering—whether there sat Van Flewker, gravely considering—whether the scheme proposed by M. Parlandet could be worked with profit. For full five minutes perfect silence pre- vailed throughout the room-silence so profound that White could plainly hear the voice of Pordy carolling an intensely comic song in. the front office. Then, at j last, Van Flewker raised his head. J A grand idea, M. Parlandet," he observed, with just an inflection of sarcasm in his tone, "as you I very correctly stated. Rather too gra.nd, I think, for my humble means to carry out—at least, upon a scale necessary to ensure success. The world is credulous, I know, and fools are many; but they are still too thinly scattered for this scheme to pay. We will not adopt it, at any rate, just at present." Well, the time for its execution depends, of course, upon my honoured patron's will," returned M. Parlandet, shrugging his shoulders resignedly. "But it is very grand idea, all the same." He was perfectly indifferent about the Sate of his bantling. Enough for him that he had consigned it to Van Flewker's ca.re. Whether it lived or died was not a matter of the slightest moment. It was off his hands, and he could now employ his energies in the produc- tion of a successor. The merchant continued reading his letters, and giving a brief synopsis of their contents. Presently, the alarum of one of the telegraphic instruments rang, and Whiffles turned towards the dial. I Vhich is it ?" asked the merchant. Wapping, sir," was the reply. "See what Taylor shall vant." The third mate of the Juno," read Whiffles, aloud, as the needle moved rapidly round the dial, who jumped last week into the docks in delirium, tremens, and was carried to the hospital, is recovering. His father has arrived from the country to see him, and, Taylor hears, will take him home. Will Mr. van FIewker come down!" "Diable exclaimed the merchant. I should tink so. Dat young fellow's life represent to me
vonce. Messieurs, the council is adjourn for tne present." The merchant hastily shuffled on his hat, and bolted from the room, direct for his debtor. Thinking the opportunity too favourable to be thrown away, M. Parlandet followed the clerks into the office, and addressed himself upon the usual topic to Whiffles. Dear Monsieur Chancellor of the Exchequer," he smiled, have you for me a leetle of the indispens- able ?" The cashier turned to his books, ran up a column of figures, and shook his head. "VerrJ" sorry, Mr. Parlandet, but your account for this month is antici- pated. I must have Mr. van Flewker's order before I make a further advance." "Account anticipate!" exclaimed M. Parlandet, with a successful imitation of surprise. But my dear Meestare Vhiffie, that is impossible. Al-low me, one leetel moment." The manager thrust his head over Whiffle's should r, and endeavoured to pick a hole in his account, lie flattered himself he had succeeded. But very dear Mr. Chancellor," he exclaimed in triumph, "here I ob-serve five entries of four guineas, that is von-and-twenty pounds in von fort- night. Distinctly do I recollect to have receive but fifteen in that time. How could you possibly make such error?" Without replying. Whiffles drew from a drawer beneath his desk a variety of notes from M. Par- landet, all requesting money, all duly endorsed and labelled with their respective amounts, and with their aid verified every item in the account. But, Chancellor, best-beloved," submitted M. Par- landet, piteously, ruthlessly brought down from proud reliance upon the justice of his case to an appeal for mercy, what am I then to do ? I have urgent need of a little cash. There is a bootmaker, very trouble- some, with a fixed idea that 1 am in his debt. In vain I try to combat this delusion. In vain I dem-onstrate the value of my patronage to his pro- letarian mind. In vain I tell him the privlege to construct the boots of M. Napoleon-Victoire Parlandet is, of himself, an honour of the most distinguished kind. This man of leather brutally observe, that honour and patronage won't grease his lapstone. Further there is a tailor, who refuse to fulfil my orders until, he tell me. he shall see the colour of my' money. In vain I try to satisfy his inquiring mind with the assurance that my money is of the. same colour as everybody else's. This sceptical artiste decline to be convinced, save with his own hands and his own eyes. What do 1. dear Chancellor K' chap 8 Weil, M. Parlandet," said Whiffles, if you ask my opinion, I should wait before I ordered anything until I aftord to pay." Eeau-tiful theory, my Chancellor," responded' Far!, beautiful theory; but, like the majority of theories, failure in practice. I am then daily to exhibit my toes to an admiring public as I perambulate the Strand, because my bootmaker's bosom contain a paving-stone and not a heart. I am to walk about wjthout. my coat, because I will not satisfy the- inipertinent curiosity of a tailor about the hue of my money. Dear Chancellor this cannot be." Very sorry, M. Parlandet, but 1 can do nothing without Mr. van Flewker's order." Ah M. van Flewker's order Al-ways M. van Flewker's order!" exclaimed Pari, irate at the book- keeper's obstinacy. Do you suppose, Meestare I Whiffle, that M. van Flewker would trouble'his en- lightened mind for such miserable bagatelle. Be bene- volent. my Chancellor Unlock for me that clese-shut box which rattle the pretty music." Shall be most happy to pay any amount Mr, van Flewker may desire, Mr. Parlandet,"returned Whiffles; but can do nothing without orders." Eh, well, monsieur you shall rec-eive those orders I wretorted Pari, proudly, shouldering his cane, and marching out of the office stiffly, as if his usual diet were ramrods. Strange place as this office is," wrote Raymond White to his mother that evening, after detailing the scene above described, 1 think, after atime, I shall manage to settle down. If you can, therefore, make up your mind to leave Liverpool, and come to London, I will look out a suitable place. Please let me know as soon as possible. Singularly enough, something has transpired which induces me to believe I have discovered a secret you will like to have cleared up. I will explain fully when we meet. For this reason alone, if for no other, I should like, if possible^that we should all be together here. I should not be sur- prised, however, if the situation upon which I have now entered, speedily improved." In consequence of this letter, a fortnight afterwzrdt Mrs. White and Ruth, and the little Christine arrived in town. Raymond met them at the station, as4 brought them to the place he had selected as their London home. And the fate-threads of the reunited family interwove again for a time. CHAPTER IX. CI THE GUARD DIES, BUT NEVER SURRENDERS You have now made the acquaintance of Mynheer Fabian van Flewker and all in his employ. You know the clerks you know the errand boy you know something of M. Parlandet. But that worthy gentleman is so great a, favourite of mine, that I should like you to know him better still. As nearly as I am able to discover, the voice of M. Napoleon-Victoire Parlandet was first heard upon this earth somewhere about the year 1820. A lofty house with a peaked roof andoomany gables, on one of the dirty ancient streets of Paris citv, the constant home of fever, squalor, vice, and every sort of abject misery, was the scene of the event. The dirty street has disappeared now, and a spacious thoroughfare, the Boulevarde de lit Fanfaronade, I think, now occupies its site. A handsome, stately road, formed of asphalte-not paving-stones, which have been found inconvenient sometimes—down which a squadron of dragooivs could charge without breaking line, and which heavy guns could sweep with grape from end to end, # Times, therefore, have changed with the great city since M. Parlandet first saw the light. Then, also, Louis the Desired and Well-bsloved ruled over that ever happy and contented people. But two* years had elapsed since a military Habel had bivouacked in the F.lysian Fields. The vultures of disappointed I ambition, of remorse, of envy, of despair were gnaw- ing at the heart of the modern Prometheus, chained to his lonely ocean rock at St. Helena. Ever as disease progressed, sprang up anew in his breast the hope of once more evading his guards, of again head- ing victorious legions in the field. Even when I- wrestling with Death, his cry was for the front of battle. Aged, doting and blind, twice stricken with insanity, the conqueror who had carried his eagles- over Europe had that year yielded up his weary" spirit.