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T emp.eranae eetid at Gogan Ghapel, on Wednesday.
CAUGHT AT LAST; ,.., OR, THE…
uawiuBevi« ind through it entered, at this instant, the figure of a man. Others followed. They were gen- darmes. The men came to the bedside, and inquired what had occurred. I told them of the condition in which I had found my mother, and of the man I bad i i the stairs. The chief gendarme gave ins' ;u t n cf) to his men to follow up the fugitive, wl))k' h.'h.n)n-If remained with us. By degrees we succeeded in extracting from my mother what had taken place. "After I had left, she told us, exhausted with long-continued toil, she had thrown herself upon the bed to rest. Fatigue brought sleep, from which she bad been aroused by hearing some one in the room. She started up and found the window open, with a. strange man stealing on tip-toe towards the door. With more courage than prudence she had thrown herself before him and demanded his purpose. But she was no match for a sturdy and athletic thief. With a savage oath the desperado pushed her from him, struck her down with some weapon, and she knew no more. The officer of gendarmes took up the tale. The villain who had injured my mother was a noted thief, of whom they had been long in pursuit. Hearing from a confederate that a robbery was to be attempted thatevening, gendarmes were posted upon the premises. Too great eagerness on the part of one of them had betrayed their presence to the robber, who had escaped over the roofs of the houses. Through the window he must have seen the light in my mother's room, and thought the opportunity favourable for escape. Here was a fresh addition to our troubles. My mother's wound would have been dangerous in a healthy person; in her weakened and exhausted state it proved fatal. The police did what they could. They sent us a doctor, who had my mother instantly conveyed to the hospital. The best medical care was lavished upon her, but all in vain. The shock had been too great for her en- feebled fran-ie, and three days afterwards I was alone. She died." Oh, Mabel, Mabel, oh, my sister broke in Mrs. White, with a passionate cry. Was this the end of all thy many sorrows ?" "Sister cried Natalie. My mother your sister, Madam White Then you are-" Your aunt, my poor girl!"sobbed the widow. The two women cast themselves into each other's arms, and remained long embraced. Gertrude and Kleckser delicately turned away. When the emotion caused by this unexpected re- cognition had subsided, Mrs. White explained why she had not replied to Mabel's appeal. Upon the dis- covery of his daughter's flight with Lagrange, Mr. Walton, believing the tutor's object dishonourable, bad forced his remaining daughter to take a solemn oath never to acknowledge Mabel as her sister during his life, never to hold communication with her by letter, never to see either her or the man with whom she had eloped. Upon his death, several years after- wards, the school was broken up, and Lydia took up her residence with friends in Liverpool, where she married Mr. White. I have still the sequel to my story to relate, my friends," said Natalie, after these explanations had been given, and you will then learn my reason for distrusting M. Parlandet. About a week after my poor mother had expired, I was summoned to the offices of the police. They had captured the man whom the gendarmes had chased over the house-roofs that fatal night, and wished to know if I could identify him as the person I had met upon the stairs. It is a fearful thing to have to testify against a fellow-creature's life, even when you may believe that person to have inflicted upon you grievous wrong. The prisoner strikingly resembled the man I had en- countered, yet I could not undertake positively to swear he was the same. My scruples saved his life. Though young in years he was old in crime, and could be proved to have committed offences enough without the burden of my mother's death. He was sentenced to the galleys for life, and to be branded upon the shoulder. Now, this man was very young he must have been, at the most, twenty years of age. He was con- demned to pass his life in prison, and in all probability I should never see him again. But I believe that we have since met many, many times. I believe, with a strength and fervour of conviction which have grown daily, until they have now merged into almost absolute certainty, that the man Par- landet, rescued by Madame van Flewker from the ruins of the insurgent barricade-who has since re- mained in my patron's service-is the man I met upon the stairs that fatal 19th November, rushing red-handed from the chamber where he had dealt my mother her death-blow." Prepared as her auditors were for a startling reve- lation, this statement took them all by surprise. Mrs. White, always just, even to an enemy, was the first to speak. "Reflect, my child," she said, laying her hand kindly upon that of her niece, before you bring so frightful an accusation. We are none of us disposed to think well of this man we know him, indeed, to have done many wicked deeds. But it is hardly fair to suppose, without further evidence, that he has fallen to so hideous a depth." chap 29 Dear madam," replied Natalie—" no—dear aunt! I do not think I am unjust. I would not swear to the identity of that man when called upon to do so by the police, though morally convinced he was the same. But I noticed, too narrowly ever to forget, the prisoner's air, his manners, his face, even his voice when answering questions. That man, I say again, recognised as an old offender-that convicted, branded galley-slave—was the man ten years later saved by Madame van Flewker. That man, whether the slayer of my mother or not, was him we know as Parlandet. To this I swear, as I shall one day be judged Veil," said Kleckser, after a horrified pause. I never tought much of Parl, but I frankly confess I hatn't de least itea he vas such a consummate scoundrel as mademoiselle teclares. If he tit von ting, he tit de oder; and I firmly pelieve, now dat he vas de cause, of Vhite's tisappearance as veil." 'About that, also, I have more to tell," resumed the governess; and when you have heard all, I think there will be but one opinion amongst us." Natalie went on to recall to Gertrude and Mrs. White the incident of M. Parlandet's missing letter, which had created so much commotion in the past winter. Kleckser having been absent from business at the time, had not heard of the matter before. I had my suspicions even at that period," Natalie continued, "of M. Parlandet's being engaged in some scheme against my patron. The letter forgotten in our house by M. Raymond, which I discovered after he had left, offered an opportunity of fathoming his plots that I could not resist. I opened it. The contents Were different to what I bad expected to find, but revealed his machinations in a direction. I had not ■ j suspected. You shall fudge for yourselves. *• She drew from her pocket a copy of the letter, endorsed myence," which had borne the Genoa post- mark, and was signed," Potnq-qui-Jrappe." Kleckser read it aloud. I enclosed this in a note, written in a disguised hand, and unsigned, to M. Raymond, warning him to be upon his guard against the enmity of M. Parlandet. Unhappily, he did not take precautions. Still, after what has happened, and with the fight now thrown upon this man's evil character, there seems little doubt that whatever has taken place must be ascribed to him." Yes, dat seems clear," replied Klecksor thought- fully. De only question dat remain are vhat has he tone, and tit he act py himself or trough anoder ? As I have told Madame Vhite, it is my imbression dat Raymond has peen intuced to leave de country. Noting else could keep him away from home." Either that, my young friend," said the widow, sadly, or my poor boy no longer lives. I confess all that I have heard of this man leads me to appre- hend that we shall never see my son again." chap 29 "I ton't pelieve dat for a single moment 1" ex- claimed Kleckfer eagerly. "Pari is too great a coward to run de risk. No. My itea is dis. Pari j has tought it intispensable to be rit of Raymond. He has fount it imbossible to carry out his blots under his vigilant eye. Py some artful means hi has bersuaded him to go away. Put I ton't pelieve he has tone anyting himself. He has most likely oberated trough an agent. De letter seen by Made- moiselle Natalie gives de clue to whom dis agent is. I Poing-qtti-li,appe 'is de man, and we must find him out." chap 29 "That is what I should recommend," agreed Natalie. "If we can discover the writer of that letter, clearly a confederate of Parlandet, we shall be able to penetrate the enemy's schemes. Men of this stamp know only one motive—interest. If we can show him that it will be to his advantage to betray M. Parlandet-if we can outbid his comrade -we shall gain the day. How can this be done?" "Leave dat to me," said Kleckser. "Against a man like dis all means are fair. Parl's noted care- lessness will come to our assistance. I can easily get him town to de office in de Close, and turing his apsencegain atmission to his rooms. It vill pe strange, I tink, if I do not find someting dere to clear up de mystery." There is a danger in this course you seem to over- look, M. Kleckser," interrupted Gertrude, anxiously. "Wide yon are investigating, this man will be pursu- ing his wicked schemes. Would it not be better to inform my father at once of ail that is known, and procure his instant dismissal ?" Excuse me, Miss Gertrude," answered Kleckser, put I really tink it vould not. Berhaps you to not know so v-ell as I to de hold dis rascal has over your fader. He is so blausiple and artful-knows so veil how to tisguise de truth and give an entirely tifferent colouring to anyting dat is brought against him, dat I fear ve should only spoil an obbortunity if ve step out as oben enemies too soon. Pesides, vhat have ve to pring forward ? Blenty of suspicion, I grant; pwt, as yet, no facts. Let us vait a little, and ve shall secure his overthrow." "I am so fearful he may do some cruel wrong that nothing can rt-pair," murmured Gertrude. Is there not his attempt to fix M. White's disappearance on my father ?" Vbleh he vould unplushingly teny, mit de remark dat he cannot pe answerable for de consdruction beoblc choose to blace upon his vorts," replied Kleckser, with a bitter laugh. You to not know is fellow as I know him, Miss Gertrude. To not pe alarmed for M. van Flewker. Ve shall all vatch over him closely. De first symptom of dreachery, and Parl's career shail pe stopped for ever." Poor M. White was just as confident," urged 1 Gertrude, tearfuliy. Months ago he gave me the same assurances as you do now, M. Kleckser and yet, you see, the enemy has triumphed. However, I will be guided by the general opinion. Only I do hope this bad man will not be suffered to harm my father." Trust us, my little one," said Natalie, "to guard him from injury. See, we are linked together against this wretch in bonds whose strength can hardly be surpassed. It would be difficult to find four persons in the world with more ardent desires to recover one beloved friend, to protect another, and to punish an evil-doer. Patience and watchfulness, my Gerty, and we shall co quer in the end." Mrs. White agreed with her new found niece and Kleckser that precipitate action against the common foe must be avoided. It was arranged that Kleckser should at once open the campaign by searching in M. Parlandet's chambers for a clue to the writer of the Genoa letter. The result of his operations was to be communicated to a subsequent meeting. CHAPTER XXX. MYNHEER FABIAN VAN FLEWKER SIGNS HIS NAMM. IN blissful unconsciousness of the conspiracy hatch" ing against the continuance of his prosperous career, M. Napoleon-Victoire Parlandet held on the even tenour of his way. His little undertakings were suc- ceeding beyond his expectations. The agent he had sent abroad to whisper doubts about the stability of the great commission house of Fabian van Flewker and Company was fulfilling his charge with ability and zeal. Parl marked the results in the daily increasing gloom upon his patron's brow, in the querulous complaints of Van Flewker of the heavy state of trade, and the suspicious timidity which shrank from even certain profits; and the schemer chuckled inwardly with vast delight, while his well- trained physiognomy displayed every outward token of sympathy and regret. "We are proceeding, oh highly esteemed and most respected of benefactors," he chanted to him- self one morning, as he trimmed his beard before the looking-glass in his bed-chamber, ah, yes, we are proceeding gaily in the way that we intend to go. I think the opportunity is favourable now to take another step. Ah, yes, we will take one other little step to-day." After breakfast M. Parlandet sat down to write. Generally, his exercises with the pen were of the j faintest and scratchiest description, wanting long j practice to be able to decipher. But upon the present j occasion he seemed anxious to discover whether he could write a decent, legible hand if he really tried, | and at last he seemed to have succeeded. Yes," exclaimed M. Parlandet, holding up his per- formance to the light, and examining it with a critical j eye, this will do. This is what is called a good, I flowing, mercantile, business-like hand; and it does not greatly resemble my usual caligraphy. Any i quantity required of this article kept on stock, qvioted M. Parlandet. Home and foreign orders ) — executed witn accuracy andtCSpatcET Wholesale, W* tail, and for exportation.' Ah, yes, and for trarispofa. tation, too, sometimes, very worthy and beneficient patron, if not for—tschick!" And M. Parlandet accompanied the last sound, pro* duced by clicking the tongue against the palate, with a significant little pantomime, which twisted his neck- tie in the form of a halter under his left ear. What excellent spirits he was in, to be sure! Will it be transportation or tschick, I wonder P" he resumed, refectively. "Only the little foreign tour at Government expense, I think. The other would be better, of course, if it could be managed) because so very effectual. OurTrisnds who have taken that morning walk with Monsieur Tschick somehow invariably forget to come back. But for that WO should have to make the deed premeditated, whereat it must be sudden, on the spur of the moment, or the probability is gone. No, my beloved and respected benefactor, the foremost man of the day, will only make the foreign tour. Now, then, to build the ship in which he is to sail." He resumed his pen and turned again to his desk, scribbling this time with his ordinary vehemence and careless haste. In about an hour M. Parlandet seemed to have completed his work, so far as regarded the original composition. Then he set about correct* ing it; and finally carefully copied the whole upon paper, bearing the business heading of the office ill Augustine Close. His task ended, M. Parlandet read over attentively what he had written, bursting into a roar of applauding laughter at its conclusion. "It will do, it will do!" he shouted. "Now, tO launch the ship that is to carry our estimable patron upon his foreign tour." chap 80 And M. Parlandet left his chambers in Pall Mall tO go to the offices of the firm in the City. Now, as it happens. Kleckser to-day is in a par- ticularlv discontented and uncomfortable frame 01 mind; the reason I cannot tell you. I only know that he is more than usually tetchy and snappish, and from that circumstance I argue storms. But then M. Parlandet, you see, is entirely unaware of this, and here he comes, all blandness and benevolence, smilino, placidly, into the office, and sits down perspiring. 16 Ouf 1 my children, what it is hot to day I" WM M. Parlandet's greeting to his young friends. Whc it was—that great English wit-what declare he should like to take off his flesh and sit in his bones ? Aha Reverend Smeess—Reverend Sydney Smeess! Pity he didn't leave us the recipe before he went to the place where neither flesh nor bones stood in hi. way. Is it not so, M. Kleckser ?" Ton't know, and tink de remark comblete non- sense -was Kleckser's ungracious reply. Eh ?" inquired M. Parlandet, with an air r-i sur- prise, appealing to Whiffles and Gwillim. What irf the matter with our friend to-day ? Not well ? What is the disease, dear Kleckser ? Is the charmer unfaithful ? Have we spent all our money ? Did we have too much to drink last night ? Is it the imiilygrubs affects the king ?' Kleckser growled, but did not condescend to vouch" safe an intelligible reply. Whiffles undertook to answer in his stead. I don't know whether Mr. Kleckser's unwell, Mr. Parlandy," said the cashier; but if he hasn't got a pain in his body; he's got one in his temper. I never knew any person so disagreeable as he's been making himself all the morning." chap 30 And enough to make a man tisagreeable, too," interjected Kleckser, savagely, vhen he's got to teal mit a couple of chaps dat haven't got apove half an itea petween 'em, and d;èt half a wrong von." My children," said Parl, sententiously, listen to wisdom. It is much too hot to dispute about trifles. I come here this afternoon inspired by kind- ness and good-will towards all mankind, particularly to you, my beloved associates in our respected patron's service, if there is anything in which I can help you, command me. I am seized with a positive mania to benefit my fellow-men. It is not often, I admit; so seize the opportunity, and make me useful to yourselves chap 30 Well, really. Mr. Parlandy," said Whiffles, you're very kind. We've got plenty to do. There are nearly a dozen Jette. s to write, and how to get them all done by post time I've no idea." "Thilt is precisely what I did think, dear M. Vhiffle," returned Pa,rl, blandly. Therefore, you see me here. Now say, my friends, what can I do ?" Weli, and I'm sure we're very much obliged to you, Mr. Parlandy," declared Whiffles, the more persistently because Kleckser made no acknowledg- ment of Parl's unusual politeness. Here are a couple of letters here, sir, that I should feel very much obliged if you would undertake." Give them to me, my son," returned Parl, give them to me, and consider them done. But these are trifles, my Vhiffle, quite insufficient to satisfy the tre- mendous appetite for work by which I am assailed, Give me more-letters to write, accounts to copy, books to post-notliing in the shape of toil will come amiss to my hungry soul." While Whiffles and M. Parlandet were consulting about the letters, Kleckser looked moodily on, with' out saying a word. The German had come to enter. tain so thorough a distrust of Parl, that he sought a motive in every one of his actions. The present pro- ceeding was so especially unusual, that he felt sure it concealed a manoeuvre. He would have baffled it at once by simple passive resistance, had it not been for the unlucky spirit of opposition which animated Whiffles. Good fellow as the cashier was in the main, the vein of obstinacy in his character swelled upon these occasions to unwonted size. Nothing but thil actuated him now, when he eagerly accepted Parl's proffered assistance, mainly because he thought it would annoy Kleckser. Well," thought the correspondent, as he moodily surveyed the two, tis no use my offering opposition. Obstinate as Whiffles is, he'll take good care the rascal does no mischief. So let him write as many letters as he chooses. Stop!—an idea. No bettejf opportunity than the present to open the campaign j upon his own ground. I'm off at once to Pall Malt I to begin my search. Veil, M. Parlandet," he con* | tinued aloud, as you are goot enough to offer Ufl your assistance, I may as veil execute a coifl* mission for de governor up de Strand I must Oder* wise have but off till to-morrow. If you vill under* take dis letter to Hamburg as veil as de oders, I Catt j go at vonce." Entrust it to me, my Kleckser," cried M. Pat* j landet, in ecstacy to find his valuable aid so highly appreciated, and rely upon my industry. When you return from your errand the letter shall be done. Adieu, my son, adieu. Safe journey." He waved his hand gaily as Kleckser hurried away. chap SO I (To be continued.) ■■ ■