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CAUGHT AT LAST; ,.., OR, THE…

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own daughter. Why should she not feel equal respect for the virgin mind that listened now to what she had to tell ? When I repeated this to M. Kleckser," she con- cluded, he scouted indignantly the notion of the story containing a particle of truth. His belief was the same that you have just expressed-that the tale was invented by M. Parlandet to avert suspicion from himself. We should have been convinced at once if we had known then that M. van Flewker was not the last person who saw my boy." Ah, M. Kleckser is also our colleague!" exclaimed the governess. That is fortunate. We shall require a male assistant in what we have to do. What pity that he is not at the moment here." She had scarcely spoken the words, when, by one of those singular coincidences that happen occasionally in real life as well as in fiction, the German's figure appeared at the garden gate. He carried a large, black leather bag, and raised his hat when he observed the ladies. But that is charming!" ejaculated Natalie, ex- ultingly. as she perceived their new ally. "See, little one, heaven smiles upon our endeavours. Could any omen be more propitious for success M. Kleckser," she called across the lawn, "we shall be glad of your company here when you have got rid of your load." Kleckser nodded. He had been despatched by Van Flewker to bring down some books and papers which the merchant intended to examine, and was to remain at the cottage during the evening, to afford any assistance or explanation that might be required. He delivered his bag to a servant, with directions to take it into the study, and joined the group upon the lawn. A few words made Kleckser well-informed as to the points in discussion; and Mademoiselle Lagrange con- tinued :— chap 28 We have now to consider by what motive, further than that of averting suspicion, this man could have been actuated. I confess that, to my mind, the motive dues not appear sufficiently strong. The step is at once too hazardous and too daring for him to have adopted it without some more powerful reasons." chap 28 I am of de same opinion now as Mademoiselle Lagrange," said Klecksw. Pari— as Vp call dis in. tivitual in de office —is too prent a, coward, morally as vel! as physically, to venture upon suck a risk mitout goot grounts." You must recollect," observed Mrs. White, "that he attempted to dissuade me from asking anexplana- tion from the person he accused." Still, mithout he metitated some polder stroke, he vould not v-n: ure," returned Kleckser. I know de fellow petter dan you, dear Mrs. Vhite, and I am sure he has some burbose in view, vJiich, at present, ve do not see. His accusation vas bart of a deep-laidblan. You vill agree mit me vhen you hear vhat I have to ted." Kleckser proceeded to narrate the conversation which had taken place between himself and M. Par- landet at the Elephant's Tusk," and concluded— All dis, you see, boints 1o some vily scheme." We are clearly agreed, then," said Mademoiselle Lagrange, about the oharacter of M. Parlandet at this present time. Before we continue our consulta- tion, I will keep the promise I made just now, of telling what I know about this man's previous career." Her hearers looked at one another in surprise. The interest which Natalie had manifested in the conver- sation from the moment it commenced had grown and increased, until it had entirely divested her manner of its habitual self-imposed calm. By degrees, as you have seen, she took the lead in all that passed. Gradually even her voice had changed, losing all traces of its ordinary foreign accent. The idioms in which she usually spoke had given place to pure and fluent English. It seemed almost as if the latter were her native tongue, casting off the bonds of years and custom, and breaking its way to the surface with un. concious but irresistible force. Natalie paused a moment, as if to collect hei thoughts, and then began. CHAPTER XXIX. THE STOBY OF NATALIE LAGRANGE. "Myemployer and this dear child, my pupil," began the governess, have always considered me to be a Frenchwoman. My Gerty will learn now, for the first time, that I am a countrywoman of Madam White. My father, Gustave Lagrange, was a Swiss, born in the neighbourhood of Geneva. He was the son of the pastor of the commune, and was intended by his father to succeed him in his office. But he was a youth of an adventurous turn of mind, eager to see the world and to travel. He had received a good education, and determined to make it the means upon which he would depend. He travelled through Germany, -teaching French and Italian. Thence, after a few years, he went to Paris, where he gave lessons in German. When his restless spirit would no longer allow him to remain in France, he came to England, and obtained a situation as teacher of foreign languages in a boarding school of good repute for boys, at Kewick, in Cumberland. "The head-master of the school was a Mr. Walton." Who ?" exclaimed Mrs. White, with a start. What name did you say, mademoiselle ?" Walton, Madam White," replied Natalie. Did you know him ?" Mrs. White seemed strangely moved. I—I think I have heard the name," she said. Go on-I will tell you presently what startled me." "Mr. Walton," continued Mademoiselle Lagrange, was a widower; but his house was kept by two daughters, Lydia. and Mabel, sixteen and nineteen years of age. The school required the services of several masters, who all lived in the principal's house. They took it by turns to keep order at the meals of the pupils, those not engaged in this duty sharing Mr. Walton's table. Of an evening, after the boys had retired, the principal, with his daughters and the masters, formed a family circle. My father, who was still young and impression- able soon conceived an attachment for the younger sister, Mabel. His passion was returned by the lady; but when represented to Mr. Walton, its avowal was unfavourably received. My father wrote to Mabel, urging upon her the arguments love has always urged against opposition, proposing to her to leave her father's house with him, and they would share the joys and face the troubles of life together Mabel yielded to her lover's prayer so far as to arrange an interview, though, as I firmly believe, with the intention of trying to persuade him to abandon his design. Vain hope! My father bore down her arguments and prayers, to wait ia patience,

CAUGHT AT LAST; ,.., OR, THE…