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CAUGHT AT LAST;i OR, THE FELON'S…
CAUGHT AT LAST; i OR, THE FELON'S BRAND. rALL RIGHTS RKSFKVKB.] CHAPTER XXXII. M. BAR. FOUR days later, Kleckser. arrived in the evening, jaded and fatigued with his journey, at the railway ter- minus in Lucerne. His first care was to select an hotel. He had never visited the town before, and had no knowledge of the respective merits of the inns. Guided entirely by chance in his choice, he put up at a small place bearing the sign of "The Golden Star," situated in that quarter of the towa known as the Klritistadt. His ne>t thought was to jreflect upon the means of placing himself in com- munication with M. Louis Biirmann, alias Poing-qui- frappe. As it was essential the bird should not be frightened away by any unskilfulriess upon the part of the towler before it was securely limed, great caution was indispensable. The morning after his arrival Kleckser went to the post-office, to inquire if any luch person as M. Louis Barmann was known to the Officials. B,-trmarin ?" repeated the clerk to whom he applied. What is his description, monsieur r Rather tall, blonde, blue eyes, with light hair and beard; age about thirty; apparently, from his tccent, French. Is that the man ?" That is the man," quoth Kleckser, at a venture. "He calls regularly every morning about this time, monsieur, to inquire for letters. He is gene- rally here, indeed, earlier than now. Will you wait ?" "Thank you, no," answered Kleckser. "You do Dot happen to know where he lodges ?" Mousieur, I do not." Can I speak with you a moment in private ?" 94 But certainly, monsieur," returned the clerk, whose practised eye at once perceived a mystery. •• This wa." if you p ease." He led the way into a little room adjoining the Office, and opening out of it through a half-glass door. After a short conference the clerk came out alone, lea ving the door ajar, and resumed his post behind the counter. Several persons, upon the various errands that lead men to post offices abroad, appeared during the next half-hour at the wire screen shutting outtheunitiated; and at last a fair-cotnptexioned man, with blue eyes and light hair, by his accent apparently French, who fpked for letters. "Your passport, if you please, monsieur," de- manded the clerk, who had spoken to Kleckser. You should know tne by this time, I think, with- out my poitrait," said the man smiling. "However, here it is." The clerk turned towards a nest of pigeon holes behind him to 100,k for letters, reading in a loud voice from the passport, as he turned, 11 1 M. Louis Barmann, of London, from Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Cologne, FrankSort, Leipzig, and Berlin. Last from Basle.' M. Biirinann, no letters have yet come to your address. If you will inform me where you are staying, they shall be forwarded directly any arrive. It might save yon the trouble of calling again, you see. rrotisieur," added the obliging official, as he handed back the passport with a polite bow. "That's true. certainly," replied M. Barmann. "Well, you may send to- No, it does not Matter I have leisure, and can look in when I pass. Good day." He pocketed his passport, and sauntered lazily towards the door. As he was going out, Kleckser appeared from the little room beside the office, ex- changed a sign with the clerk, and followed M. Bar- mann. Did you ever—you who are an energetic person, used to rapid movement-attempt, unnoticed, to. follow a man who has evidently no occupation but that of somehow getting through his time ? If you have you can form some idf-a of the annoyance it was to Klecxser to trt,-k throughout a whole fore- noon the lingering steps of his quarry, When M. Barmann left the po.st-oifice he wandered slowly up the streets, his hands in his Wickets, his nose in the air, his who-e appearance suj.'gf*stive of an empty mind. As he lounged along, Kleckser was struck with his remarkable resemblamv to Raymond White. In height, in manner, and in gait; in the way of carry- lHg his head in the occasional f'ourish of a little Cane in his hand, the Frenchman bore a singular flimilitude to Kleckser's missing friend. The difference, which upon closer examination was plainly dis- tinguishable. lay mainly in the expression of the features and the gl,nce of the eye. M. Blirmann's face wore an habitually sly and crafty look and be- trayed an evident reluctance to meet another's eye. Raymond's countenance, on the contrary, was the seat of candour; his glance open, frank, and clear. Up the street sauntered M. Biirmann; up the ftreet, at a convenient distance, followed Kleckser. Coming to the bridge wheh spans the Reuss, the fiver which cuts Lucerne into two unequal parts, the Frenchman leant his ek>owe on the balustrade and looked into the stream. What should he do with himself for the day ? The question was apparently difficult to answer, and required aids to its satis- factory solution, for M. Biirmann drew forth his case, lighted a cigar, and began to smoke. After a short pause, he rose tip, stretched himself leisurely, and re- sumed his lazy way. Outside the aggis gate of the city is a colossal dying lion, hewn in the rock, as a memorial of the Swiss guards who iell defending the Tuileries against the inturiated Tenth of August mob, in fatal '92. Opposite this monument M. Barmann halted, cocked his hat a little on one side to shade his complexion from the sun. and surveyed the sculpture with a Severely critical eye. Calmly shaking his head after a bit, as though he considered the sculptor had much to answer for, he sauntered idly on. chap 32 | About a quarter of a mile pa-st the memorial in the rock stands a small wayside inn, with the sign um Lowen (to the Lion). Before it is an aged lime, so large that a staircase has been constructed in its hollow trunk, leading to a leaf-walled room, formed upon the upper branches. The nest is snug and comfortable, furnished with a table surrounded with seats; and it is not unpleasant to sit upon a Summer's day amidst the foliage, watching the traffic between town and country passing at your feet. Under the lime M. Biirmann came to a halt. He -wat-re(i a battle of wine, threw up his leas UDOIl the -w-It, Printing of every Description SS3v, CtltT 1 Ji t "'Lt; t coming up presently, took his seat at the same table, and the two presently fell into conversation. Monsieur is French, I take it," observed Kleckser. A slight peculiarity in his accent betrays the land of his birth. I have not the happiness to belong to the great nation myself, but I esteem its children, and I speak its tongue. If it would be agreeable to monsieur, we can converse in French." Most happy to comply with monsieur's desire," bowed M. Barmann, politely. "Monsieur is acquainted with the town here, I presume ?" continued Kleckser, throwing out a feeler. I say $monsieur,' as I have not the pleasure of knowing his respected name." Bar, monsieur," returned his companion. I am called Bar." "Singular, monsieur!" continued Kleckser. "My present business in Lucerne to make the acquaint- ance of a gentleman bearing a very similar appella- tion. But perhaps he is a relative of yours. Did ycu ever happen to hear of a certain Louis Barmann, monsieur r" The Frenchman stared at his interrogator with sudden alarm. What might the question mean ? His practised intellect, trained, like the minds of all who prey upon their fellows, to suspect a hidden danger in the most trivial circumstance, saw safety only in denial. Never heard of such a person in my life, mon. sieur," returned M. Bar, stolidly. Really!" said Kleckser, arching his eyebrowa incredulously; I should have thought, now, from the similarity of the name, you were at least related." Not at all, monsieur not at all," responded M. Bar. "I repeat, I never heard the name." Monsieur, your first assurance was amply suffi- cient," returned Kleckser, with a civil bow. "I am, however, a stranger in Lucerne you have pro- bably resided here some time. The town is not enormous. Would it be possible, do you think, to find this M. Barmann, whom I am assured is here ? -so Why not, monsieur ?" asked M. Bar, carelessly. Much, of course, would depend upon the induce. ment offered to undertake the search. May I e. quire, without indiscretion, whether your businest with this gentleman is private, and particularly pressing ?" Most pressing in its character; and so far private, that I must see him in person," answered Kleckser. Do you think, you who are acquainted with the town, I shall be able to discover hi m ?' "If he is in Lucerne, why not, monsieur P" re- torted M. Bar. He is here, assuredly," returned Kleckser. "Listen. M. Louis Barmann quitted England just two months ago upon a confidential mission. He has visited, in turn, Brussels, Ghent, Cologne, Frankfort, Leipzig, and Berlin. He was last seen at Basle, and is now known to be here." You are, at any rate, well-informed of his recent proceedings, monsieur," commented M. Bar, with an attempt at a grin, which turned out a ghastly failure. "Tolerably, I admit." returned Kleckser, com- placently. But then my interest in finding him is very strong. And yo-i are quite sure you could not help me to a knowledge of his whereabouts, M. Bar ?" "Personally, monsieur, I repeat," said M. Bar, I am entirely unacquainted with the gentleman you ;e;k. I have friends, however, in Lucerne, who may possibly know something about him. From w iat you say. I gather that you are not yourself familiar with his person. Is that the case, mon- sieur ?" M. Bar, your penetration is admirable," returned Kleckser. It is only quite recently that I began to think I way. perhaps, have seen him." "Well, monsieur, that being so, it might, per- haps, be in my 1ower to procure you au interview; always provided that the go«.tieu>;>u is known to my iri( nds. I riny he allowed to add. tiiat the matter would tioubtlcas he greatly" facritated if some iaea- ot the biasness uptin which you seek him were iur- nislu-d to tlcl; M. i-.tnn.u)))." There will he no di:rculty about that," said K ee.kser. r'n'crfvl'v. I .m di-Tg'ifed to sf-e that ir: n casual AtNjtiyittaiiCK I liiiti a va'ua l<- au.Miisirv. My bllSJlii'Ss this:—He It, t ling ii<! upon Mti-sion. unoert.ilo n to serve a friend. ThHr. friend, ;'¡;, m a position to .'•tare, has played inn; fa'e. The plan which "remission was to further lias completely lahi-d he opf.osire party are desiio "t o;: newiiri' service! can it. worui s. \Lii r. 1: which shrouds the past. H's friend is 2-u- s:d<>. The ques- non tor A' ai a. p. <u far-swing man of the n«.ild. to i;o"kI(!I r i„_ Li,, r lie wid not do well tu Jeave the sinkiug ship." x(,it with his ignorance of the real object of Poing-i,ui-frappe's mission, was necessarily, to some extent, groping m the dark. Considering all things, however, [think you will nr(>e with me, he p!a.ye<1 1118 difficult game with a. f.,ir a.mount of skill. The d'f,-ct of his proposal upon M. Biir was to con- ti r. that. gentleman that h.s friend Part's little plot t'y no means in so flourishing a condition as the ) r. ;>ger believed. Counter-piots were evidently a toot, which puzzled M Eitr, and caused him to con- ceive a determination which he lost no time in carry- ing out. It is well, monsieur," lie returned, in answer to Kleckser s mysterious speech. Although, of course, I have no idea whatever to what you allude,, M. Bar- mann, if my friends are able to find him out, no doubt wIll understand. I will communicate with my friends to-morrow. We must leave a day for researches; and two days hence, at this hour, I will meet you again." Kleckser agreed. Thinking it better to err rather upon the side of caution than to risk his chance of success by a. premature dis- closure, he believed it would be wise to allow M. Biirrnann time to turn the proposition over in his mind. The place and r ime of meeting were arranged, and the new acquaintances parted. The two ensuing days were passed by Kleckser in a state of painful expectation. Would his new acquaintance keep the appointment ? was the ques- tion which continually agitated his mind. If he failed, the chances of finding a clue t') what had become of ] Raymond were further off than ever, for the enemy would now be upon the alert, and take excellent care to keep out of harm's way. Still, taking into con- sideration that Pari could not reply to Poing's last 1 appeal, there was the likelihood that the latter might I credit Kleckser's statement, and at least hear what- ever proposals he was empowered to make. Upon the whole, he believed the fish would'take the bait. Upon the morning of the day appointed for the interview, which wae to take place at noont Ktockeer, f Executed at the Chronicle Office, Penarth. A wwar- ircpa-rmccr vjuft-a airowr ssnrrr Tstasskt within doors, wandered out a little distance from the- town. Straying into a field by the side of the railroadg. he threw himself down upon the grass to think. The snorting of an approaching locomotive drew his atten- tion. It belonged to the morning train leaving Lucerne for Baele. He raised himself upon his elbow; to watch the train go by. You may picture to your-i self his horror when, at the window of a third-clasff: carriage, he beheld the face of his new acquaintance. M. Bar, who kissed his hand to him repeatedly, with a smiling countenance, and derisively waved his hand. kerchief from the window until the train was out of sight. — "De scountrel!" ejaculated Kleckser, wnen^lSe could manage to find words. Sold-trapped-hum- pugged in de most tisgusting and ignominous man- ner Vhat's to pe tone now ? I must bursue do rascal instantly." He rushed back to the town, packed his effects in haste, and hurried to the station. Confusion There would be no other train until the evening, and Poing, had thus secured a good ten hocks' start. The in-i terval, however, might be advant: geously employed. Kleckser hastened to the post-offic- There he ascer- tained from the obliging clerk that no letters had been received for M. Barmann. Indeed, monsieur," observed the clerk, if there had, they would be lying there still, for he haff never called since you were with us. Do the police know anything about him ?" Ihe police An excellent hint. Kleckser repaired to the chief office, described his fugitive, and learnt that he had ha,d his passport vised the preceding day for England. Here was a clue, at any rate. He must; be pursued, overtaken, stopped before he could com* municate with Part. t; By the evening train Kleckser started for Basle. Here he got a scent of M. Barmann. An individuals answering his description had taken a ticket for; Heidelberg. Without a pause for rest, Kleckser. followed. He traced his man to Mannheim, top! Frankfort; then, making sure he had gone on to Strasburg, so to his journey's end through France,. hurried as fast as train could carry him to pass the frontier. But the clue was st. No description, no inquiries availed Kleckser further. 1he chance of success,, apparently within grasp at Lucerne, had been skil- fully evaded; and Kleckser landed at Newhaven with a feeling very much akin to that with which a dig-* mounted foxhunter must survey Reynard wbeaf he cocks trinmphantlv, as he enters an impenetrable' cover, the brush he has run so many miles to ptft serve. ——— CHAPTER XXXIII. KLECKSER IN DIFFICULTIES. KLECKSER lost no time, after his arrival in London, 4l going straight to Pall-mall, to find out Waddell. In spite of the start which Poing had contrived to get, he believed it impossible the fugitive could have suc- ceeded in reaching England before him. A chance was therefore left of preventing the emissary having speech of his employer until at least one further effort to bring him to terms had been essayed. Arriving at the West-end branch in the evening, Kleckser found the housekeeper at home, and entered upon his business without delay. From Waddell he learnt thar, nobody answering'M. Biirmann's descrip- tion had lately called upon Pari. The object to be attained was, that when the inevitable visitor did appear, he should not encounter the man he sought. It was not very difficult to discover, by judicious cross-questioning, that Waddell hated Pari. No danger was therefoie incurred by enlisting him in the cause. Kleckser informed the housekeeper that Pari was strongly suspected of malpractices against the firm, and that a scheme for detecting him in this endeavour had been laid that it was essential to the success of this scheme that M. Barmann should not see ParI- before he had b-z-en communicated with by Kleckser; that his arrival might be expected at any moment, and that Waddell must therefore remain upon the gpot; that it was left to his ingenuity to contrive a means of bringing Kleckser and M. Barmann facejbo face. Waddell entered with alacrity into the plot. The opportunity to sarve out that 'ere shabby hold Par- Jingdy," as he expressed himself, was alone delightful; but the instincts of his former calling also revived at the proposition. There must be something in the human chase peculiarly attractive, or it is diificult to guess why supply in the police and spy market in- variably exceeds demand. Waddell assured Kleckser that he might rely upon his foresight and prudence,, and the German went to bed that night a little com- Icrtad for the lirst time siuce he left Lucerne. I am distressed to be compelled to acquaint yout my dear Mrs. White," wrote Kleckser next morning, that my mission for the present is entirely failed. Yet do I not, however, give up all hopes of success. A fresh plan has been arranged, which my constant vigilance requires. As soon as I havø any result to communicate, you shall from me agau; hear." He could not summon the courage to meet the ex- pression he knew Ruth's face would wear when he detailed the artifice by which he had been deceived, and found it easier to tell of his defeat upon pper. It was essential, next, to keep M. Parlandet at a distance from his legitimate sphere of action in Pall- mall as much as possible. This could only be done by finding occupation for him in the office at the Close, and taxed all Kleckser's ingenuity to effect. He had not only to guard vigilantly against arousing in Pari the slightest suspicion of his object, but had also to combat that gentleman's preference for a lax, over an industrious occupation of his time. chap 33 Days passed, and still no news was received of M. Barmann. Every evening, upon leaving the Close, Kleckser went up to Pall-mall, to receive Waddell's report of the events of the day. Every evening, for upwards of a week, the housekeeper met him with the assurance that nothing of importance had oc- curred. Neither visitor nor letter arrived for M. Par- landet. Upon the tenth night after his return frqjp Switzerland, Kleckser was sitting in his usual place of resort- -the smoking-room of a coffee-house, hard by the manager's chambers—vainly endeavouring to fix his attention upon a newspaper, when Waddell quietly looked into the room and beckoned. Kleckser followed him out into the passage. "Tbat party's turned up. sir," whispered Waddell, mysteriously. "Called 'arf an 'our ago, an' hasked for that bother party. I told 'im the party wasn't at 'ome, but if he'd say when he could call agin, no doubt 'e'd heither see the party or receive a message. Then says this party, says he,'4 Tell that party I ton't unterstant," broke in Kleckser, im- patiently. Vhat de teuse do you mean mit your • dis barty and 4 dat barty ?' Speak a little blainert. man,"