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",CAUGHT AT LAST; OR, - THE…

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CAUGHT AT LAST; OR, THE FELON'S BRAND. (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED,! j4 j CHAPTER XVII. A MYSTERIOUS FRIEND. A tETTKit for you, Vhite, my poy," said Kleckser 1;0 Raymond, one day as they reached the office at the Close, and turned over the voluminous budget delivered every morning to Fabian van Flewker's address. A iady's riand, too de seal a' tove mifc a ring in her peak. Hulloa Vhite. Is de pest • beloved ot our susceptible heart appointing a rendea- YOUS ?"' Nonsense, man. Give it here," said Raymond, -with a laugh. Vhat'll you'l I -pet I haven't guess right ?" asked the German, provokingly, holding back his hand. ""Oh, I forgot. You ton't pet. Veil, I'll toss you vhether you or I read de letter. No ? Vhat an im- practicable fellow! Dere, take your property. Mind, I voirt promise to give away de pride, but 'shall ex- pcct a pig ollic:' at de sake." Rajjiiond turned the letter over. London post- SBid'to himself. "A. female hand cer- -IstjPBfefepd not v*me-«&hat'I know—but thee all wormsTwrite alike now-a-days, Come, let us solve tlxe riddle." Yeu and I may look over his shoulder in spirit, though we might net play the spy in the flesh. We 1 read this Mr. "White will recollect having a dispute a few days ago with M. I'arlancVet, about a missing letter, after^rds found. The contents of this letter are known to others besides the person "to whom it was addressed. 1 hey think it of importance to contents of this letter are known to others besides the person to whom it was addressed. 1 hey think it of importance to Mr. White that ]10 should learn them to.. A copy of the original i;, therefol e added here The writer of tlie»e lines desires to caution Mr. White against any attempt to discover from whoin tlieykome. Mich an attempt could only ewJ. in failure, but might cause much annoyance in a quarter where it is thought Mr. White desires create an interest.. Upon this subject the •writer will only say three words—Patienve aml Hope. No si^u^cure—no date; but the postmark upon the envelope bore the date, February 6. Next followed the copy of M. Parlandet's letter in French—French, also, of the vilest and most un- grammatical kind, abounding with slang and coarse expressions, winding up with a dash of blasphemy. Its purport, rendered decent, was to the effect) that the writer had received his dear friend's latest mis- sive, with its welcome enclosure. Was charmed to learn that a little professional assistance was required, which he should be most happy to give. A very .short time now would end the present disagreeable stat > of affairs, as measures which had been long in • preparation were nearly completed and must infal- libly succeed. The writer would then hasten upon the wings of friendship to his old comrade's arms, and cheerfully execute the desired service. Unfor- tunately it was, if he understood M. I'arlandet rightly, only too easy of accomplishment. To put a meddle- some puppy out of the way was a light and facile taslc. He would have been glad if his dear friend bad required something more arduous, as he could thereby have given better proof of his devotion. However, it should be done. Let M. Parlandet lay his head upon his pillow and repose in peace, secure that Providence, aided by friendship, would execute his desires. After that the grand scheme could be carried out at leisure. The letter was signed Poing- qui-frappe." [" Fist that strikes."] Raymond leant his head upon his hand after read- ing this extraordinary effusion, and meditated. Two questions in particular occupied his thoughts: Who was his friendly correspondent ? and next, Did the letter of this man, with the slang name of an escaped convict, in truth refer to him ? He took these questions in succession, and was un- able to answer either to his mind. His circle of female acquaintances was not large his mother, Ruth, Gertrude van Fiewker, and Mademoiselle Lagrange comprised the whole of those who were aware of the circumstances attending M. Parlandet's letter. The warning clearly did not come from the two first. Row about the others ? Internal evi- dence plainly showed that Gertrude was not the writer. Besides, an anonymous letter was utterly at variance with her frank and open character. Was it the governess? He could not believe this either. The hand-writing was English, the spelling was cor- rect, the diction was good. Natalie spoke the lan- guage fairly, but further Raymond did not believe her knowledge of it to extend. None of these four, he thought, could be his unknown friend. Stop! he might be mistaken in the sex. The writer might be a man. But here, again, a still greater difficulty interposed, for among his male acquaintances Ray- mond felt certain no one possessed the requisite know- ledge of his private affairs. The more he reflected, the deeper he plunged into the quagmire of uncertainty and doubt. chap 17 Dismissing this question for a time, he fell to the -consideration of the second. Was he in reality the person referred to in the letter of M. Parlandet's cor- ? respondent ? Upon this point he felt almost greater doubt than upon the foregoing. It seemed to him simply impossible that Pari could have entertained an enmity towards him—an hostility, indeed, so rooted, as to have tampered with a bravo to remove him from his path. Why should he? Unaware of the actual reason of his engagement by Van Fiewker, Raymond imagined he had been really hired as an aid to Parl. He knew the latter's influence over the merchant's mind, and supposed that he had teased his patron into procuring an assistant to assume his minor duties, upon the plea of his great intellect being VJeffc entirely free to ponder day and night upon schemes for that patron's service. Now, perhaps, the Case was altered, after what had transpired between Parl and "Raymond a few days before. But that which might have caused the change did not take place until the letter had arrived. It was possible, again, that he might have misin- terpreted the meaning of the writer, or that some '-other "puppy" might be aimed at who also stood in M. Parlandet's devious path. A man like this must f have many ugly secrets in his wicked life. Accident had led to the discovery of one, and was it likely this had not many brethren ? Next came the consideration whether he should talte any precautions against the possible case of M. Parlandet's really assuming the offensive, and he determined that he would not. Raymond had all the disbelief of Young England in the existence of a secret under-current of villainy and crime beneath the apparently smooth and glossy surface of civilised society at large. Thoughts like these occupied the mind of Raymond White for full an hour after the receipt -of his anorrmous letter. They circled through hia -brain as fie mechanically went through his ordinary

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",CAUGHT AT LAST; OR, - THE…

",CAUGHT AT LAST; OR, - THE…