Welsh Newspapers

Search 15 million Welsh newspaper articles

Hide Articles List

2 articles on this Page


---------GHT AT LAST;I


was very sUght-restmg, in tact, solely upon the evil ,character of Nap. Monsieur Pith detailed to Jean the conversation that had just occurred; and here, at last, the missing due was found. Nap had said nothing it truth in stating that he bad overslept himseif: <•observed Jean, "that happened from excel], i-i OHMS; When a boy leaves his bed at two in the jhoi-m n. and returns at six, it is natural that he should sleep too long. Monsieur," continued Jean, I see it all. This that I tell you did occur this day. Usually, in the night I sleep sound and heavily. And whv ? I am fatigued, exhausted with my work. I wake, and rise refreshed. This night, I know not why, sleep will not come. I look around. My wife is wrapped in slumber by my side. This wretched boy is motionless upon his couch in the corner of the room facing the door. I see this by the light of the moon. Outside I hear the church clocks strike the hours- eleven—twelve—one. All noise has ceased in the street. The last drunkard has left the wine-shop, and staggered home. All is quiet, solemn, calm. Still, I cannot sleep. Still I watch the shadow cast by the moon upon the floor. Slowly it moves along, until the room is once more dark. Two o'clock strikes. Then I hear a gentle rustle, as of a person throwing from him bedclothes. I lie still, and listen. Then comes the tread of naked feet upon the floor, and the soft, low sound of footsteps. The door is opened gently, and one leaves the room. My wife still sleeps by my side. It must have been the boy! I raise myself upon my elbow, and listen. In a little the house door is unclosed; one steps out, and walks rapidly away. Down the street, Monsieur Pith, in the direction of this officfe." Honest Jean paused. The recollection of his son's object in secretly leaving his home at this untimely hour seemed to burst upon him in all its enormity, and the strong man groaned. His listeners gazed at each other pityingly. Jean nerved himself, and went on. To assure myself that the boy had really gone, I slid gently from my bed—gently, not to disturb my wife-irid felt his couch. It was warm, but empty Where had he gone ? Monsieur," ejaculated Jean, with sudden passion, "I swear to yol-i, had a suspicion of his errand crossed my mind, he should scarcely have returned alive! I wait for his return. All thoughts of sleep are gone now. The hours pass, and still he comes not. At last, just as the day is beginning to light up the roowi, I hear his step come gently up the street. The people upon the ground-lloor are stirring at this hour, and the house-door is open for the day. A stealthy step comes up the stairs. The lock of the door is gently turned, and the boy glides in, sarrymg his shoes in his hand. From between my half-shut eye- lids I watch his movements. He looks round search- ingly, sees his mother and rae, as he thinks, asleep; slips off his garments, and is in bed in a moment. Monsieur, I recollect new that I noticed him place -something carefully beneath his pillow." Again Jean cea,ed, but not from inward feeling .now. Set and gloomy determination was written upon his strrngly-marked and furrowed features. He had evidently made up his mind as to his son's guilt, and was resolved what course to pursue. Monsieur Pith and his overseer again exchanged pity- ing glances. It was clear they were of the same opinion as Jean. re-commenced the workman, you know me, I hope, and trust my words. Your property shall be restored." He left the counting-house, and went down the street in the direction of his house. "Poor fellow 1 poor fellow!" sighed kind-hearted Monsieur Pith. It is a fearful trial to his honest nature. Ah these children; how they have it in their power to make our hearts ache Within a quarter of an hour from the time of his having left the counting-house, Jean Parlandet re- turned. Monsieur Pith was then alone. Walking straight up to the desk, Jean laid the missing pocket- book before his employer." "I have recovered your property, monsieur," he said. Please to see that ncne of the papers are missing. Kind-hearted and benevolent as Monsieur Pith un- doubtedly was, he would hardly have been human if he had not pounced upon his recovered pocket-book with ra ther uncomplimentary haste. With eager fingers the printer rapidly fluttered the documents that it contained, then turned to his workman with the assurance that every paper was there. Good, monsieur," responded Jean. You have a right [now to give up the boy to the correctional police. I will accompany you to the tribunal when- ever you desire, and give evidence against the thief." Not so, my friend," said Monsieur Pith, kindly, laying his band upon the man's shoulder. Twenty years' acquaintance might have taught you to think less harshly of your old master. I should ill repay your faithful and honest truth if I were to hand over your son to the grasp of the law. Go he must; after this, I catnnot keep him in my service an hour; but for his father's sake he goes free and unaccused by me. chap 10 Jean covered his eyes with his hand, and there was silence between the two men for a little space. You are kind, monsieur," he said at last, with a sigh. Kind now, as when you saved me from a cowardly and wicked deed. But this crime must be expiated. I pray you, monsieur, I pray you earnestly, I beg you to accuse the boy." "Indeed, I shall do no such thing," replied the printer. I am only heartily sorry for your sake that this miserable'business ever happened. Believe me, I sympathise with you most fully, my poor Jean.^ Again his kindly hand was laid upon the workman s shoulder, again his kindly voice endeavoured to speak comfort to that afflicted man's heart. But it was of no A crime has been committed, monsieur," Jean. That crime must be atoned. If yo° punish the wrong-doer, then I must." monsieur As you please, friend Jean," returned monsiem- Pith, with all the British Sa^Ka *he time in the efficacy of stripes. "Take the boy home and give hirh a sound thrashing. At least, l know that's what I should do, if he were mine." <« pear not, monsieur he shall be punished; returned Jean, gloomily, and taking leave of bit -employer, marched out of the counting-house.