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CHAPTER XXXIX. THE WRITTEN CONFESSION. BEFORE Alderman Beltry, citizen and spectacle-makeri an astute but somewhat loud-voiced minister of the law, Mynheer Fabian van Flewker was brought up at Guildhall, the morning after his arrest in his Richmond cottage, at the instance of M. Parlandet. The accusa- tion had taken the merchant completely by surprise. For Parlandet's purpose, nothing could have been more ably timed. Van Flewker was hugging himself 9 in fancied seeurity; he was listening with an in- dulgent smile to his daughter's expressions of thank- fulness at Parl's dismissal; he was congratulating himself upon having got rid of an incubus that for months past had weighed heavier and heavier upon him. Down swooped M. Parlandet, like a hawk upon a chicken, and bore away his bo'oty. chap 39 He had gratified his malice by calling to his service one most ingenious torment of our beneficent law. He might have sworn an information and taken out a summons. He preferred surprising his employer, and giving him in charge. At the station-house the merchant offered to give bail. The inspector shook his bead. In a criminal case, he replied, it was out of his power to accept it. Van Flewker asked that a messenger might be sent to summon his solicitor. As it was after business hours, the professional gentle- man had left town for his residence in the country, and the office was closed. Van Flewker, used to every comfort and luxury, was compelled to pass the night in the station-house. At ten next morning, Mr. Slark attended his client at the police-station. He was a quiet old man, with a bald head, a moist lip, and a bulbous nose-which spoke of port. Mr. Slark listened attentively to Van Flewker's excited detail of all that had befaren him, then re- freshed himself with a pinch of snuff and dusted his shirt-front. Awkward, my dear sir; very awkward," returned Mr. Slark. Most awkward of all you see, that we are entirely in the dark as to the proscutor'S evidence. How can he prove his case ?" So far as I am avare, not a.t all," replied Van Flewker. "De young man is certainly missing, and has not been heard of for several monts. But to accuse me of any hand in his death—if, indeed, he is dead—is both malicious and absurd." Ve-ry good, sir ve-ry good," said Mr. Slark, rubbing his hands gently. Then we shall have the prosecutor for faise imprisonment. Has he any con- federates, do you imagine ?" 11 Vell, dat is possible," returned the merchant, thinking of Poing. "Good again, sir, ve-ry good," continued the lawyer. Then we shall have a shy at him for con- spiracy. A pretty case, Mr. van Flewker a ver