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CAUGHT AT LAST; OR, THE FELON'S…

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CAUGHT AT LAST; OR, THE FELON'S BRAND. RALI. BIGHTS P-ESUTM.] CHAPTER XXI. "MY FBIBND FROM PARIS." (Shortly after six o'clock that evening, Raymond White punctually made his appearance at the West- end branch. He was not particularly pleased at being Compelled to encroach upon the scanty leisure which was of right his own but it was one of the business peculiarities of that unbusiness-like firm to transact its affairs at all sorts of extraordinary hours. Voices were audible in M. Parlandet's presence- chamber when Raymond knocked at the door—voices and hearty laughter-with clinking of glasses and a gurgling sound which he knew could only proceed from the pouring out of wine. "Oh!" he thought, "M. Parlandet has visitors this evening, seemingly. I suppose bq has forgotten all about my calling for instru, tion- The dis- arrangement of his faculties by our p 'ppery friend'a ruler appears to be set to rights by this time. Let us See. He knocked at the door, and entered at M. Par- laudet's reply. "Aha! dear M. Vhite!" exclaimed M. Parlandet, who was apparently in the highest possible spirits. "Welcome, my instructor, my guide, philosopher, and friend To what am 1 indebted for this extraordinary pleasure? But stop, permit me first to present to you Dotlwr old and very dear friend, just arrived from Tar's, M. Ch;ii ouiheux. Jules, my brave, let me introduce th. c to M Vhite. Enchanted to have the oppoitunity to make known one to the other two gentlemen of such rare and singular merit. The two met) made acquainted in these high-flown terms bowe and looked as foolish as men ordinarily look under similar circumstances, then eyed each other M-vniy. M. Chart milieux was a fresh- Ooloured fellow of about Raymond's age, also with I)e complex ion and light-coloured hair. In build, and he;>;hf. and fr;jme, even in facial expressions. th« two might have passed for brothers. The main di'Terence lay in the eyes and general re- finement or feat-Hie. in which respects Raymond had greatly the advanravi*. There was a downcast look about the Frenchmen, a of shv reluctance fairly and openly to meet another's which might per- haps have been set clown to the bash fulness not usual among his nation, but which contrasted 13trnngly wit'i the free and honest glance of the young Lancastrian. Further difference existed in their mode of wearing the beard, M. Chatouilleux's adorn- ments in that respect being cut to Paris fashion. The general likeness, however, between the two was sufficiently noticeable to strike M. Parlandet, who exclaimed, looking from one to the other- Jules! thou and M. Vhite might be taken for twins. Astonishing, the similarity in your appearance If I did not know all thy relations so thoroughly, I could swear that you were brothers at )east. But dear M. Vhite," he continued, you have pot yet told me to what I am indebted for the happiness of seeing you here to-night. Do not suppose for a moment that I am not charmed: but it was a pleasure I hardly dared to expect." Surely, M. Parlandet, you must recollect that I call by your own appointment," answered Raymond, 44 made in Augustine-close this afternoon, to receive instructions for important letters." «' Ah, then you evidently did not receive my message,; asking you to postpone your visit till to-morrow," responded Pari, in a tone of great vexation. How Unfortunate that my carelessness should have put you to such needless trouble. And yet I telegraphed it before six. How was that ?" You forget that I necessarily left the City early, to be here in time," returned Raymond. No message peached the Close before I came away." Tah ejaculated M. Parlandet apparently much annoyed. Dear M. Vhite, I have to beg of you at the least one thousand pardons for bringing you here in vain. I congratulate myself again, upon the other hand, for the chance that procures me a pleasure at once so precious and so rare. It is im- possible that I shall give you the instructions to-night. To-morrow, however, will do equally well. Come, as you are here, let us spend the evening together-you, my friend, and 1. We will be very sober and very fational. You shall be our Gamaliel; we will sit at your feet and learn to be good boys. Jules, my brave, fing for another glass for M. Vhite." But Raymond had no desire to be M. Parlandet's guest, and to enact Gamaliel for the benefit of himself and his friend. Parl's ready falsehood that after- noon, coupled with his language and his demeanour HOW, had started into life the old suspicions his recent good behaviour had almost lulled to sleep. The con- version was only superficial, tha,t was clear-perhaps ■ even worse, and utterly hypocritical. Were this last surmise correct it must have been for a purpose. Was that purpose to allay all mistrust ? Then, too, this stranger, with the downcast look-this intimate frieiid of M. Par'andet, never heard spoken of before—who was he ? Sudden alarm arose in Raymond's mind lest this might be the mysterious Poinq-qui-frappe," against whom he was so solemnly warned in the letter of his anonymous friend. These thoughts take minutes to write; they flew in a second through Raymond's brain and his hand arrested that of M. Chatouilleux, about, at M. Parlandet's request, to ring the bell. Pardon, M. Parlandet," he said. I shall be glad if you will excuse me, as there is no business necessity to remain. I never pass the evening away from my family if it can possibly be avoided. Indeed, you must permit me to go now." He turned to take his hat, and missed a glance of intelligence exchanged between the two. The stranger pointed rapidly with his thumb over his shoulder to- wards the window. M. Parlandet nodded. «< Ah, well, dear M. Vhite," he observed with a sigh, as if the necessity of parting with his young friend were very cruel; what must be, must. Painfully Sensible of the inferiority of our companionship to the society of your cha- ming family, we yield to the *»d decrees of adverse Fate. Some other time, and at ft very early date, we must hope that Fortune will be more propitious. Farewell, dear M. Vhite, fare- well!" chap 21 He had slipped his hand, into his pocket as he spoke, but drew it out as rapidly as if it had been bitten, fringing to view a little parcel well secured with ftring, sealed over, to prevent illicit opening, with ft. f ey Moeaw of wax.. „

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