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Parliamentary Expenses.

.. Popularising Penartli Pier.

Cricket.

PENARTH "THISTLE," T. "ST.…

CAUGHT AT LAST; OR, THE FELON'S…

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GBBTKUDB In what respect do you mean r RAYMOND: Well, whether thay adopt society's 1Itandard, which says two people cannot be properly happy without a respectable income; or the common,. sense standard, which declares that though, of course, a certain amount of niinn-v is requisite, its sum depends upon the tastes and habits of the people themselves. GERTRUDE: Well, as we are treating of fiction, let us throw society overboard for once, and adopt the common-sense standard. RAYMOND: Yes, but then you will only get a fictitious opinion. What is the use of a judgment based upon ideas which, in actual life, respect for the dictum of society would not permit you to adopt ? GTKRTKOCE (thoughtfully) There is something in that, certainly. Then you mean to imply that society's verdict and the verdict of common sense would not agree ? RAYMOND: Undoubtedly, because the opinion of -society in the matter is based upon a false foundation. Society, in fact, says:—" I set up a certain standard to which you must attain to be what I call respect- able. My standard may be birth, it may be money. If you don't reach it, I can't admit you into my ranks. Choose for yourself." The lover in the novel sees this. He thinks that, although the lady may be attached to him now, her attachment will not be strong enough to survive the trial of narrow circum- stances. Therefore he very judiciously bows to the verdict of society, and withdraws his suit. He isn't so absurd as to break his heart. Why should he ? The lady evidently wasn't worth it. I don't think the writer has talsen a lofty view of female character. GERTRUDE: Then you positively defend the lover's desertion of a trusting woman who has given him her affection ? Oh, Mr. White, I couldn't have believed you would take such a heartless view. RAYMOND Certainly I defend it, if the writer has given a correct impression of-what does he call his hero ? Philip-ah! Philip Rolfe. What would you have had this unfortunate Philip do, Miss Van Flewker ? Believing Sybil did not care for him sufficiently to prevent her looking back with regret, after marriage, upon the position she had forfeited, would you still have had him seal her misery and his owni- according to novelists' views of such feelings-by en- trapping her into marriage ? Would that have shown hialove ? GEHTBUDB Well, perhaps not. But would un. harness have been the necessary result ? chap 14 RAYMOND The writer implies as much. If you allow Philip to weigh the chances, and coldly balance which course it will be most to his advantage to adopt, you degrade him at once to the level of a mere fortune-hunter, and treat him worse than the author has done. He has, at any rate intended to display Philip in a disinterested light. But we have allowed our subject to carry us so far away that we are talking of avowed fiction as actual fact. After all, you know, it is only a novel. GERTRUDE: That is true; but one is very apt, when interested in a tale, to look upon it as real. It is the great test of an author's power if he is able to caiary his reader completely away. When we shut the book, the world of fancy into which he has taken us vanishes, and we return to the domain of fact; but the impression made upon us remains, and the feel- ings the tale has aroused are not so easily laid to rest. Don't you think much is to be learnt from fiction, Mr. White? RAYMOND To some extent, yes. But it is essential that the author whose works you read should be pure. By which I do not mean to say that he shall never mentxcn vice only he must not make it seductive or agreeable. A false, impure writer is a scourge and a pest to the nation into which he is born. Fortunately, in England, we have little to complain of in this re- spect. There are few among English authors who would not feel degraded in their own eyes if they penned a sentiment that could bring a blush to the cheek of the most timid. And again, the public taste would scout from the ranks of decent literature the fellow who should dare to attempt the outrage. But we are travelling a long distance away from our novel, Miss Van Flewker. r, The girl was silent. Her needle had fallen un- noticed from her hand while Raymond White spoke. There was an energy and fervour in his manner that showed how strongly he felt what he said, and she listened eagerly after he had ceased to speak. A gentle sigh flitted over her lips. I wish I were an Englishwoman," she said, half to herself. It must be glorious to be the child of a country of which one can be proud. You love Engtaad, dD you not, Mr. White ?" "Love my country!" ejaculated Raymond. "Is she not a country to love, to be proud of, to live, and, if need be, to die for ? Show me another one like her throughout the universe. With all her faults, and all her prejudices, to which no true patriot can be blind unless he wilfully close his eyes with all her weaknesses, all her follies, England, after all, is the diadem of the world. Shall I tell you why ? It is not because her sons are brave and hardy-others are so, too; it is not because the English nationally are patient anil industrious-other nations possess the same virtues. But it is because throughout the right thinking portion of the nation, from throne to cottage, one dominant idea has inspired all classes for many happy years, and that is the determination of all ranks manfully and steadfastly to do their duty." I do believe that is the real secret of England's greatness, Mr. White," returned Gertrude. It would be well if other nations looked upon her more with a wish to imitate and less to envy." Depend upon it, Miss Van Flewker," replied Raymond, "that is the great difference between the English and other nations. Men here, certainly far more frequently than elsewhere, do right for its own sake, and because it is a duty, and less for the purpose of gaming distinction and reward." "I Do you think that is M. Parlandet's rule, Mr. WhIte?" asked Gertrude." The words were simple in themselves, but the tone in which they were spoken was significant. v ,y no," replied Raymond. "Never ret, In the whole course of my existence have I known any one so utterly devoid of every honourable principle. I only hope Mr. Van Flewker may never have reason to repent the confidence he places in that man." Ah you too, distrust him, then ?" exclaimed the girl. 0, tell me, Mr. White, pray tell me. is there any further reason than bare suspicion for what you gay ?" Not even that at present," answered candid and liberal Raymond. "Nothing further than distrust. But I hold that if a man will do one bad and wicked act, unless fear of punishment prevent him, he will do more. Accident has brought to my knowledge a deed of this M. Parlandet, more cruel, more dastardly, more heartless than I had thought ty; in the power of thp wont of men to commit, tfufaa me," be added, in reply to Gertrudes look of surprise, "the topic is not suited for a lady's ears. But believe me when I assure you that I think no crime more atrocious." "Alas alas!" cried Gertrude, clasping her hands in dismay. And my father still trusts this wicked man. Surely, he cannot know-" No one, I believe, but myself is acquainted with the circumstance," said Raymond. I am sure Mr. Van Flewker, at any rate, is not. But do not be alarmed, Miss Gertrude, I shall keep a strict watch over M. Parlandet. He shall not injure your father in any way that I can avert. Upon the first symptom of treachery, his power of mischief shall be effectually stopped, I promise you." Raymond was not a boaster; but there was an ex- pression of quiet determination in his voice that woke an echo in Gertrude's heart. Ah it must be a fine thing to be a man she exclaimed, with an emphasis and evident admiration that brought the colour to Raymond's cheek. Especially a brave and fearless one. Only do not run any needless risk for our sakes, Mr. White. Something tells me M. Parlandet would be formidable to any person he disliked." 11 1 Thrice is he armed who hath his quarrel just, quoted Raymond, smilinz. Never fear for me, Miss Van Flewker. Straightforward will win the day, even against M. Parlandet's wily intellect, I make no doubt. If not, a good soldier can ask no better than to die in the front of the battle, with his face to the foe. Be assured, however the moment I see reason to think M. Parlandet is betraying your father's confidence, I shall plainly acquaint my em- ployer, as pure matter of duty, with all I know about his mana.g-r. WI' have about a great many things this morn'ricr. though, and have come to a most unpleasant, subieot now. To change it, I had better sav good-hvp." So the two parted. When Raymond rearh^d Augustine Close, he found I that M. Parlandet had already returned to the West- end. Back he trudged, therefore, to the place whence he had first set out, and where he finally ran his fugitive to earth. A feww-ri-, F,ifficed to acquaint M. Parlandet with his subordinate's search and its object. upon being informed of which the Frenchman promptly stretched forth his hand to receive the letter. One moment, M. Parlandet," said Raymond, with his hand in his p"ir-t. You shall have your letter immediately. ".traiige. he continued, 11 1 cannot lay my hand upon it ar, this moment. Surely I did not leave it at the office ?" he asked, half to him- self. How!" ejaculated Pari. "My letter at the office! Indeed, I hope not, M. Vhite. it is ot the last im- portance for me to receive that letter without one moment's delay." "Could I ha^f forgotten it at Bloomsbury Square ?" continued T^aymond reflectively. I think not. I recollect distinctly having laid it on the table by my side after- "After Mademoiselle Lagrange asked to look at the was about to add, but. warned by the expression of M. Parlandet's countenance, stopped in time. Vel, dear Mr. Vhite pray continue. After-?" After—entering the room," substituted Raymond, colouring, for the snhte'-fmr" L-Allp;i him. Parl's ready suspicion ins'antiv took firp. But vhat business had my letter to lip upon the table, M. Vhie ?" he demanded. f, The house of M. van Flewker in Blonmsburv fJnare is not the Houses of Parliament. nnr is mv letter a petition. Besides, when you found 1 was not there, why be so stupid as to show the letter at all ?'* There was sufficient, reason in the question to make it difficult to answer, though it might certainly have been put in a more civil form. Raymond bit his lip and still rejected." Where can 1 have left this wretched letter ?" But, if you please, my letter, M. Vhite ?"demanded Parl again, with mock civility. I require my letter. This it is to he so over-ready to do service. Had you left my letter here, I should have received him in due course upon my return. In place of this, you are so obliging as to walk ah >ut with him in your pocket for half the day, AS yon say, in spa,rch of me. Veil! you have found me now; but I am no nearer to mv letter." "It cannot be lost, I ana convinced," returned Saymond. I must have left it either in the square at the office. Whichever is the case, M. Parlandet, you shall have your letter within an hour." He snatched up his hat, and hastily left the room.