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..0: 71; Temperanee fleeting, Presbyterian Sebool, on Wednesday. I Of that auspicious event, I should hope, there can be no manner of doubt; No clue has then been dis- covered to the cause of his absence ?" The second time he puts that question!" thought Mrs. White, whose keenest faculties were strained to th'Hir uttermost to gain some guiding hint from that IV. (<■ am! smiling face. Why is he anxious to kno* f 1;(; cnuscience make him fear ?" Mindful of Kleckser's assurance that Parl must be fought with his own weapons, and feeling that the case justified and even demanded some equivocation, Mrs. White continued aloud, I can scarcely go so far as to say we have a clue, but there is reason to be- lieve we are upon the track. Inquiries, still in progress, point to one person only, who might have a direct interest in my son's absence." M. Parlandet was obviously startled, yet he kept his countenance well. Mrs. White's hint challenged reply. Should he affect surprise and interest, and enquire who the person could be to whom she re- ferred ? That was dangerous. What should he say ? Plague, thought he, seize this hard-featured and composed old woman, gazing upon him with those quiet, yet determined eyes. Aha! fortune befriended her humble slave. An inspiration-an idea! He spoke. Is it possible? To one person only who could have an interest in M. Vhite's absence! Strange and marvellous coincidence of sentiments between kindred minds! I was upon the point of offering the same suggestion." The lip belonging to the owner of the kindred mind curled slightly with indgnant scorn-a move- ment instantaneously repressed. Ah how she guarded herself, and forced back and beat down the loathing that filled her soul at the sight of the man whom she believed had done her this cruel wrong —forced back her detestation of his words, his I manners, of the very tones of his voice, in the hope I that he would betray himself to hers watchful eye at last. last. "Searctlly the same suggestion as mine, sir, I I iraagiae," »be observed. It would be singttlaf,. ilf- ) deed, if our suspicions beth rested upon the same person. Soirely you cannot,mean to im Sks rfcogjMd r6Aenti0**lfy. Piufl, in "his eagsfciesg to load her off the sceafc, fell imto the snare, and hastily broke in- Bm;, of a surety, yes, dear madam; my suggestion is identical with yours. Who but his employer should have the interest of which you speak in the absence of your son ? Grievous as it is to me to express a bad opinion of my benefactor and patron, I fear it is of him alone you must inquire what has has become of M. Raymond." Of Mr. van Flewker ?" Of him, assuredly, and no one else," pursued the triumphant Parl. The inclination-to use no stronger term—existing between his daughter Ger- trude and your son has, without doubt, attracted his notice. I have no wish to disparage M. Raymond; but it must be clear, even to his mother, that he is not the man my benefactor would select for a son- in-law. What is more probable than that Van Flewker, to separate the pair, and cause his daughter to forget her passing fancy, has sent Raymond abroad on some secret mission; whence in a few months he will return, his passion cured, to laugh at all our I fears ?" Sceptical as Mrs. White felt of the probability of this suggestion, her rigid sense of justice would not allow her to condemn even a Parlandet unheard. There was something in the notion, too, which led her at first to think it not impossible. The perfect con- fidence which had always existed between mother and son had acquainted her with, the admiration Raymond felt for Gertrude. She thought it likely than Van Flewker's daughter had the inclination for Raymond of which M. Parlandet spoke. She con- sidered it probable again, hearing from her son of the luxury with which the merchant surrounded his child, and the eagerness with which he gratified her slightest whims, that he would seek for her a wealthy or a noble husband. Yes, there was something in this man's suggestion, after all. Hope, also, that this —so much more favourable solution of the mystery than she had dared to anticipate—might be the true one, pleaded powerfully in ts favour. The more Mrs. White turned the matter over in her mind, the more disposed she felt to believe that, for once, M. Parlandet had positively told the truth. Meantime, the artful dissembler, noting by the widow's silence that his suggestion had taken root in her mind, and was rapidly bearing fruit, sat carefully silent. When he thought time enough had been afforded, he proceeded to impart strength to his argu- ments by various additional reasons. chap 26 You must see, dear madam, I am convinced," he continued, how feasible is this view of the case. Far be it from me to defend the course of M. van Flewker in this matter; I think it cruel, and I think it wrong to separate two loving hearts so eminently suited for one another as Mademoiselle Gertrude and my young friend, your son. But what would you ?" I with an expressive shrug. "Parents regard these questions in a different light to their children, par- ticularly when, as in this case, the advantage in wealth and position is all upon the lady's side. M. van Flewker has not thought it advisable to thwart his daughter openly, and provoke dissension, but has adopted this means—certainly very effectual-of pre- venting an undesirable match." If it be as you say, Mr. Parlandet," replied Mrs. White, proudly, f Mr. van Flewker might have known my boy better than to suppose that he would ever stoop to steal into the family of any man J' Undoubtedly should he have known my young friend better, dear madame," returned M. Parlandet, overjoked to see he was gaining ground. I, myself, am perfectly assured my dear friend Raymond, how- ever advantageous the match, would never have been guilty of the meanness my patron has supposed; but he has taken apparently a different view. I am bound to say, also, that Mademoiselle Gertrude has been rather indiscreet." There is only one doubt in this reason for my ¡ boy's absence that I cannot solve," observed the mother. I know him too well not to feel certain he would never have left us without farewell." 'I By a coincidence which I esteem of the most fortunate, answered ParI, glibly, it is in my happy poVer entirely, to remove this doubt, at once so natural and so noble. From inquiries I made dis- creetly of the housemaid who admitted your son to I M. van Flewker's cottage at Richmond the night he went away, I have ascertained that :he remained in I conversation with my patron fully one hour. Twice during that hour the servant entered the room; upon both occasions M. Raymond was writing busily. What is again more likely than my patron, telling him it was important he should depart" at once, him it was important he should depart" at once, offered to take charge of a letter containing his I adigu ?" I FlausfblUCy was again in favour of this view. The tale was neatly put, together, and might be true. Still Mrs. White doubted, and, to remove her doubt, resolved to test M. Parlandet further. "I am inclined to think your suggestion may be correct, sir," she observed. It has at least opened out a possibility of which I had previously no idea." She shifted her chair a little, and, by a dexterous movement, got M. Parlandet with his face to the light. "My suspicion," continued Mrs. White, slowly, of the person who has occasioned my son's absence, has rested hitherto in an altogether different quarter." chap 26 Poor M. Parlandet! The scaffolding he had so painfully constructed began to shake and quiver, and threaten disappearance from beneath his feet. Stin. feeling that to falter now would be to forfeit all the fruits of his toil, he constrained himself to smile and bow, and mutter, Is it possible ?" chap 26 i "I was inclined to believe," Mrs. White went on,; deliberately emphasising every word, that a person, who, I am given to understand, has led a vpry evil life, feared its exposure. That finding my son knew at least one cowardly and infamous deed which he had perpetrated, he was resolved to get so well- infer i ed a personage out of the way, and had there- fore brought about my son's removal. Do you con- sider I was right in imagining that such a man would be capable of such an act, Mr. Parlandet ?" Her clear grey eyes, undimmed by age, dauntless in the might of a conscience void of offence and of a holy cause, looked boldly, unflinchingly, upon his face. A shudder went from the nape of his neck straight down M. Parlandet's back as he met her gaze. The conviction that a woman so brave, so self-possessed, so energetic, yet so strong-willed as to preserve per- fect control over her feelings in the presence of a man she suspected to be the murderer of her son, would be relentless as Death if she found that sus- picion verified, struck like the stab of a knife into his brain. He wished now more than ever, that he had not ventured into the lioness's den. Still he kept his count-enanee skilfully. His rougs preserved the gradual dyinj of natural colour out of his cheeks iro-m beibg seen, but could not prevent the ashy potior of Ms lips becoming plainly visible—oould not hide the nervous tremor of his hand resting upon the table-could not conceal the hasty plunge with which he dashed his foot against the floor to keep his trembling body still. With eager, hungry eyes—with face that might have been cut out of steel, from its stern and sharp com- pression—the mother read the conscience of the shaking wretch before her. She read it without a word. Deep m her dauntless breast arose the wail of bereavement, but she never uttered a sound. She had a purpose yet to gain. It was in this direction my suspicions were first directed, Mr. Parlandet"—she broke the silence at last; but your suggestion turns them into another channel. Presuming that this view is correct, I suppose you would not advise any direct application to Mr. van Flewker ?" No quaking criminal in the old hanging days, trembling beneath the fatal beam with the noose around his neck, ever heard the shout of A reprieve with more overpowering gratitude than M. Parlandet beheld this prospect of escape. He plucked up his courage in an instant. Of a surety, dearest madam, I should most I strongly recommend to do nothing of the sort," he replied, hurriedly. If M. van Flewker has sent M. ¡' Raymond away, the knowledge that his plan is dis- covered would greatly embitter him against your son. It would be most imprudent to let my employer see he is suspected." "You are probably right, sir," returned Mrs. White, gravely. There, for the present, let the matter rest." M. Parlandet was only too happy to accede, and rose with alacrity to take his leave. Mrs. White had obtained the certainty she desired. She knew now to whom was attributable the absence of her son. She had succeeded in throwing the malefactor off his guard. She was glad to be alone in order to arrange her further plans. The usual common-places were still pouring in ready flow over M. Parlandet's lips, when the noise of persons entering from the street was foLowed by the appearance of Ruth with little Chrissy. The widow's back was towards her daughter, and she had not heard her enter the house. The first intimation she received of another's presence was the bold and un- disguised stare of suprised admiration in M. Par- landet's countenance as his eye first lighted upon Ruth. Mrs. White turned instantly and perceived her daughter. She rushed towards her with out- stretched warning arms. Not now, darling!" she exclaimed in an hasty whisper; I am busy; stay! leave me the child, and I run upstairs." She pushed her daughter gently yet quickly back. wards, and shut her out of the room. She would not have that evil eye rest upon Ruth's pure and innocent face a second longer than could be avoided, I am bound to say that at this point M. Parlandet presented a remarkably foolish appearance, standing with open mouth gazing at the spot from which that lovely vision had vanished. One hand twirled his hat between its fleshy fingers; the other mechanically combed his bushy beard, as was his practice when he wished to appear specially fascinating. He did not I even notice that Mrs. White had seated herself with Chrissy on her lap, and was removing the child's mantle and bonijet4 "A little divinity!" he sighed at last, and turned again to take his leave. As he did so, his gaze fell upon Chrissy's face, upturned towards him with a look of childish innocence and surprise. He started back.' The features* eyes, and looks, the very ex- pression of dimple wonder, called up an image in his mind that, until of late, had been a stranger there for years. The dead looked at him through the ej^s of the living. Something a little like remorse pulsated feebly even at the bottom of the stagnant pool that in him represented conscience. For once, M. Par- landet was confounded. The likeness of Chrissy to her mother was so strikng-the fact of her living here, in the house and under the protection of those whom he knew to be acquainted with this dark secret of his wicked life—perlv-sp? the vo;ce of Nature, if Nature over gains a. hearing from such a man as this --all shouted, trunipet-ton-ued in his ears, and smote the' conviction upon his soul that this little creature owed her lite to him. Did a softer feeling glide into that false and selfish heart. p„s his traze dwelt upon the features of his pretty child ? J f it did it was turned in a moment to bitterness and gall. For, as he looked upon that little face, he save it change. Terrified at his steadfast look, his unknown swarthy features, and his ample beard; warned it may be, by an intuitive sense of the cor- < rupt and evil thoughts that dwelt within his breast, and shrinking from their eontact, the child's expres- sion of innocent wonder deepened into fear. With a feeble cry, she shrank in terror from the strani e- parent who had cast her forth upon the world, and hid her face upon the bosom of the Christian womafl who had taken her in. Mrs. White clasped the child lovingly to her breast, "You had better go, sir," she said, quietly; 11 yo-I only frighten her." The conscience-stricken wretch skulked from the house with the air of a beaten dog. The intention, therefore, with which M. Parlandet had so gaily set forth that morning, of exploring the enemy's country, had not succeeded according to his wish A painful sense of utter discomfiture weighed upon his mind. He had gone out for wool, and had come back decidedly shorn. chap 26 A different view of sympathy was displaye that same afternoon in a quarter where kindness of heart was about the last thing that would have been ex. pected. Mynheer Fabian van Flewker had been more annoyed by the sudden and unexplained dis. appearance of his clerk than he would have chosen to confess. Vexatious in itself, as likely to attract un. pleasant comment, it was doubly vexatious when he called to mind that a valuable and trustworthy check upon M. Parlandet's little eccentricities no longer existed. It was more vexatious still when he dis. covered that he could not rid himself of disagreeable misgiving as to how the family of Raymond, dependent, as he knew, upon the son's exertions, would manage to subsist now the breadwinner was gone. In vain he shrugged his sliou,ders, and tried to drive away the stu pid coram on- place idea about these common people. The disagreeable notion would persistently intrude, that want, as well as sorrow, would soon, if indeed it had not already done so, obtrude its gaunt visage into the little household. Wittingly or not, if the young fellow had come to harm, it had been while occupied in his service; and although we know that the merchant was act thin-skinned, yet he could not disguise from himself that a species of moral obliga- tion therefore lay upon him to do something fGr Jti8 relatives. g* After a morning of pros and cons, then, the ffiGI6 chant found himself in the afternoon at the cottagf of Mrs. White. Kleckser had provided him with the address. Do not go, my dear," said Mrs. White to Ruth, as the latter rose upon Van Flewker being announced. We can hear together what this gentleman wishes to say." I am come, Mistress Vhite," observed the mer* chant, after the preliminary civilities had been duly paid, upon rather celicate matter. I am not man of many vords, and shall tell my business in short. I have tought-pardon me if I am in error-dat it it likely de principal income of your family vas de' salary of M. Raymond your son. Speak plainly, and say me, is my tought right, or is he wrong ?" "Sir, my boy was a good son, and has been the mainstay of the family for years," answered Mra. White, frankly. As I did tink," rejoined the merchant. He it just de sort of man for dat sort of weak—dat sort of ting, I mean to say. Veil, I have proposal to make, Mistress Vhite. Fcoittez-ah, pardon!—listen. As it is been in my service that vhatever has happen yout son did occur, it seem to me only right and just, sO far as de money matters go, dat I should take his place. Vhat you tink, eh ?" chap 26 I scarcely understand, sir, the meaning of-" Not necessary, madame," he interposed, hastily. It shall presently be plain. M. Raymond has dis. appear-for a time only, I hope and bslieve. For de present purpose ve shall have to presume he shall not return. VelI, in dat case, supposing he shall not come back, how you and dis young lady intend to live, hey ? Dat is de question." His blunt and abrupt method of dealing with 80 delicate a subject, involving an hypothesis so hor. rible that mother and daughter even shrank from dis- cussing it together in all its naked hideousness, waS yet an inexpressible relief after the false and dreary verbosity of M. Parlandet. It was so evidently kindly meant, that it would have been captious to take offence. Indeed, sir, we have hardly yet thought of that," replied Mrs. White. Voman all over!" exclaimed Van Flewker. "Ah. pardon! Veil, de necessity may not arrive, but ve shall act as if it did. Now, I shall propose, as matter of business, to advance vhatever moderate sum you shall need, upon de security of M. Vhite's salary vhefli he shall return. Do vith it as you please. If I shall advise, I would say, set up in business in a small vayl in some quiet place. But, of course, you know de vorld, and must decide for yourself. See, madam. In dis portfolio is a certain sum. Dat is for half a year., De same amount shall be paid to your ordef by my cashier three half-years more besides dis. By dat time I shall expect von of two tings shall happens Either your son shall have return, or you vill have make for yourself a vay of livelihood. Come vhat you say ? Do you accept my offer ?" The widow and her daughter were too entirely taken by surprise to be able immediately to reply. Their eyes consulted, in genuine feminine style, and were still conversing when Van Flewker's impatience broke in again. Say, Mistress Vhite my time is of value. Youf answer is von vort, yes or no ?" Then, yes replied Mrs. White. "But recollect, sir, that we have little chance of ever being able to repay you." Dat is my affair," retorted the merchant. Dere, dere dat is enough-no tanks. It is purely matter of business. Should M. Vhite not return, and you cannot repay the money—veil, ve shall see. If he returns, I shall expect my money back, dough you may have de use of it at--no, vidout, vidout any interest. I never do such ting in my life before," observed the banker, as if apologising to himself for the liberty he was taking; but I made exception in de present case. Yes, if your son comes back I shan't charge not any interest. Mistress Vhite 'and mademoiselle, I vish you good day." He n,ade a rush at his hat, lying before them on the table, stumped it upon his head, and was out of the house before they had recovered their surprise, leaving behind him the pocket-book of which he had spoken. The widow opened it a few minutes aftef- wards, and found that it contained a bank note for one hundred pounds. (To be continued.) chap 26 t