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L I E) R.AFIY 

OF THL 

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or ILLINOIS 

823 
T323 



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"THAT LITTLE pENCHMAN." 



"THAT LITTLE FRENCHMAN: 



3^ Mt. 



BY THE AUTHOR OF ''SHIP AHOYT 



VOL. III. 



LONDON: 

TINSLEY BROTHERS, 8, CATHERINE STREET, 

STRAND. 

1874. 



LONDON : 
SWEETING AND CO., PRINTERS, 

So, gray's inn road. 







"THAT LITTLE FRENCHMAN." 



CHAPTER 1. 

A SEARCH. 

ANE'S cries brought all 
the servants round. One 
said the child was hiding; 
and the cook declared that 
you might depend upon 
it that the little fellow had 
got hold of something to 
eat, and had gone to sleep 
in a corner. 

" It's what 1 should have 
done," she continued, spitefully, " if I had been 
neglected by my nuss." 

VOL. III. I 




That Little Freuchiiian. 



" He's a playing at hide and seek, bless him," 
said the housemaid ; " he's got in amongst some 
of the curtains." 

Here Buttons broke in, and nearly sent Jane 
into hysterics by proclaiming his opinion, and 
letting the cat out of the bag as regarded some 
of his own mischievous pranks. 

** I know where he is," he exclaimed. 
" Oh, where } tell me directly, there's a good 
boy," exclaimed Jane. 

^' He's been upstairs a-playing with the ball- 
cock of the big cistern, and tumbled in and got 
drowned." i 

" Oh !" shrieked the maids, in chorus. 
"Couldn't get in; door's always locked," said 
Mr. Sellars, gruffly. 

" How dare you, you imp!" exclaimed cook, 
shaking her fist at Buttons in an exasperated 
fashion. "You turned mc quite cold all over, 



That Little Frenchmaji. 



I do declare. Don't you do it again, Eddard, 
that's all." 

" Well, I don't care," cried the boy, backing 
out of reach; "he allers liked hearing the water 
fizzle and squirk." 

*' Then you must have took him there when 
I didn't know it," cried Jane, who looked 
ghastly pale. 

" Shouldn't have asked me to mind him, 
then," grumbled the boy. Then, firing up once 
more — 'T know, then, he's got in the bath-room 
trying the taps." 

The under-housemaid rushed ofif at this sug- 
gestion, and had got halfway up a flight of 
stairs before she learned that the bath-room had 
been searched. 

" Hadn't we better go reg'lar through the 
house?" said Mr. Sellars — "leastways," he 
continued, "if this is really a lost child; bc- 

I — 2 



That Little Frenchman. 



cause it's no use making ourselves hot for 
nothing." 

" Oh, yes — yes — yes, I'm sure it's true; my 
poor dear boy's gone!" sobbed Jane. 

"Well — well — well, my dear," said the cook, 
"don't take on like that till we find out for 
certain as he's gone. And he can't be gone, 
you know, can he.^" 

Mr. Sellars shook his head ominously, and 
took snuff. 

" Then let's search from beginning to end, 
and from top to bottom of the place," said cook, 
who was stout; and she set an example by 
making Buttons bring her a chair, in which she 
sat down and wiped her face. Then, seeming 
to awaken to the incongruity of her proceedings, 
she added, 'Tt's not much I can do, because my 
dinner would spoil." 

" I tell you what," said Mr. Sellars, then, as 



That Little Fre?ichma?i. 



he flicked away a few grains of dirt from his 
coat, " I'm very glad, Jane, that I don't stand 
in your shoes." 

"Oh, please — please — please don't!" sobbed 
Jane. " Oh, what shall I do — what shall I do!" 

" Then come along of us," said Mr. Sellars, 
good-humouredly. " Let's all have a good look. 
We shall find him fast asleep, like that there 
young chap in the poem as minded sheep, 
you know — him as you sing about sometimes, 
Jane. Come along, Jane. Come along, all of 
you." 

And then, headed by the butler, the servants 
spread themselves about the house, without sys- 
tem or order, half of them devoting themselves 
to the dining-room, which had been searched 
before ; and here they looked in every impos- 
sible place — one peering into the coal-scuttle, 
another up the chimney, while one enthusiastic 



TJiat Little FrencJiman. 



housemaid looked under the hearth-rug, and 
began to take up the carpet at one corner. 

" It aint any use to look in the ice ^afe," said 
Mr. Sellars, pondering over it for a few mo- 
ments, "because there's six bottles of champagne 
in it, and the lid's locked." 

"It would be best to make sure," said the 
housemaid. 

"Think so?" said Mr. Sellars, musing; and 
then, as the others gathered round the great 
brass-bound sarcophagus-like piece of furniture, 
dark looks and nods went round, and the maids 
gave a little shriek of horror. 

" Depend upon it, he's in there," said one. 

" Oh, poor dear," said another, " it's just like 
the mistletoe bough, as shut with a spring, you 
know." 

" But I don't expect to find him in here," said 
Mr. Sellars, solemnly, as he fumbled with his 



That Little Frenchman. 



keys. " I don't see how he could get in when it 
was locked." 

"Oh, I don't know, Mr. Sellars," said the 
housemaid. " But do, pray, make haste, or the 
poor dear will be smothered if he is there, you 
know." 

Thereupon Mr. Sellars fumbled a little 
longer with his keys, and at last opened the 
outer lid of the safe, pausing for a moment 
before raising the inner lid, to disclose, of course, 
nothing. 

"Ah!" There was a sigh of relief, long 
drawn out, and the conversation once more 
began to flow. 

"There'll be a pretty to-do when they come 
home," said Mr. Sellars, whom the non-disco- 
very of the child in the ice safe had somewhat 
put out of temper. 

They, of course, signified Sir Richard and 



8 That Little Frejichman, 



Lady Lawler; and this brought up so awful 
a picture before the mind's eye of Jane, that 
she went off into shrieking hysterics — no sham 
ladyhke faintings and fancies, but into a wild, 
horrible fit. 

" Oh, what a brute you must be to talk like 
that to the poor girl !" cried the motherly cook, 
whom the noise brought up panting into the 
dining-room. " I can't think what stuff you 
men can be made of, to go and worry the poor 
dear like that, when she's in such trouble. Mr. 
Sellars, I'm ashamed of you !" 

Mr. Sellars did not condescend to reply, but 
looked majestically on while the maids half led, 
half carried Jane upstairs to her bed, where she 
lay at last, trembling and exhausted, while the 
servants now searched thoroughly from base- 
ment to attic — not forgetting the cistern and 
bath-room, but without the sinister results anti- 



That Little Frenchman, 



cipated by the page, who seemed to be ner- 
vously anxious that the Httle fellow might be 
found floating in three feet of water. 

Then the area was carefully examined. Mr. 
Sellars insisting upon the page feeling ev^ery 
spike of the iron railings. 

"He might have fallen out of window on to 
the railings," he said, "and then have been 
carried off to the orspittle." 

"Oh, for goodness gracious sake, don't talk 
like that, Mr. Sellars," exclaimed cook; "it gives 
one quite a turn. But now you are at it, you'd 
better see that he aint fallen out of window 
behind." 

This suggestion gave somebody else a turn; 
but ended in a delightful task to the youthful 
mind of Buttons, who, upon this, was allowed to 
climb out of a staircase window on to the back 
leads, and explore amongst the various sky- 



10 TJiat Little Frenchman. 

lights and gutters; but little Clive had not over- 
balanced himself and fallen out of a back win- 
dow, so that the searchers were still at fault. 

"The pore little dear's either fast asleep, or 
lying somewhere dumbly asking for our help," 
said cook, who was of a poetical turn of mind. 
"I don't know where else we could look." 

"Nor I neither," said Henry. 

" Nor I," said Mr. Sellars. 

"Why, we aint looked a-top o' the house," 
said Buttons, anticipatory of another exploring 
treat, though the last had not much improved 
his livery. 

"Go along," said cook; "how could he get up 
there.?" 

** Swarmed up the water-pipes," said Buttons. 

"Get along," said cook again; "and now you 
be off with your dratted impudence, and get 
yourself clean before her ladyship comes home." 



That Little FrencJnnan. 



"Then he's seen the sweeps, some time when 
they've been," cried the irrepressible youth; and 
then he dodged out of sight to avoid a shaking, 
shouting as he went, "He's stuck somewhere in 
one of the flues, see if he aint." 

" That boy's horrible, that he is," said one of 
the housemaids; and then she turned to the 
sage Sellars, as they all stood together in the 
hall, for that gentleman had gathered himself 
up to speak. 

"I dursen't tell Sir Richard and her lady- 
ship," he said, at last. 

" Nor I nayther," said Henry. " Let them as 
lost him do that." 

"Ugh, you brute!" exclaimed the cook, "how 
can she?" 

" I didn't say nothing about any shcs,'' 
said the under-butler, surlily; "I said thevi as 
lost him." 



That Little Frenchnait, 



" And it's not me that's going to take the 
credit," exclaimed Fanny, acidly; and then, 
overcome by her feelings, she began to weep 
copiously into her apron. " I'm sure I don't 
know anything about it, only that Je-he-he-hane 
asked me to look at him in the — de-de-de- 
dining-room. And I don't even know as the 
little thing wasn't stolen away, and not lost at 
all. If he wasn't, what was the window left open 
for.?" 

"That's it — that's it!" said Mr. Sellers, saga- 
ciously, as he adopted the girl's idea, and set 
it forth embellished as his own invention. 
''Depend upon it, there's a mystery here. Our 
house has been infested with strangers and ill- 
looking people lately; men with things to sell, 
orgin men, and imidge men, and foreign-looking 
chaps, that only seemed to be hanging about 
for a chance. I thought they meant the plate, 



That L ittte I^renchman. 1 j 

but it wasn't that; they meant that child, and 
it strikes me as they've got him." 

" Oh, yes, yes, yes!" shrieked a voice, in tones 
that made the servants, intent the moment 
before upon the words of the butler, start as if 
by a galvanic shock. *' Yes, yes, that's it; he's 
stolen away! That Frenchman! that French- 
man! he must have done it! He said — he said 
—he— oh!— oh!— oh!" 

Jane had come down while they were stand- 
ing together, and taken them unawares. Her 
face was ghastly white, and distorted with fear; 
her long black hair was streaming down her 
back; and after uttering the above incoherent 
remarks, she finished off with a series of wild 
shrieks, demonstrative as the rest of her class 

when in a state of trouble. 

f 

Now began a fresh scene, water being fetched, 
and the maids joining in chorus, of " Pore dear, 



14 That Little Frenchmmi. 



then," and "Do adone, then," without much 
avail; in the midst of which a great dread fell 
upon all present. For there was the sound of 
wheels; a carriage drew up smartly at the door ; 
there was the usual mercurial imitation of the 
Jovean thunder at the knocker, the accompany- 
ing peal at the bell — both so thoroughly 
necessary in aristocratic life; the door was 
opened in fear and trembling by the dough- 
faced butler; and Sir Richard and Lady Lawler 
made their appearance upon the scene. 



< 



M 





CHAPTER 11. 

QUERY — REVENGE. 
HE baronet and his lady came in cheer- 
ful and light-hearted ; some remark 
had been made which had set Sir 
Richard laughing, and he was making some 
reply, when the dismayed faces of the servants 
attracted his attention. 

"Hallo! what the deuce is the matter now.^" 
he exclaimed. 

" There is nothing the matter with Master 
Clive, is there.'*" cried Lady Lawler, anxiously. 

But to neither was a reply made — the maids 
slinking away, and Sellars standing pale and 



1 6 That Little Frenchman. 

scared, opening and closing his great fishy 
mouth, without giving vent to a sound. 

"Did you hear what I said?" exclaimed Sir 
Richard. " What is the matter.?" 

Still there was no answer; and, never the man 
to brook what he looked upon as a slight to his 
orders, Sir Richard caught the old butler by his 
collar, and shook him violently. 

"What is it, you scoundrel.^ Speak, will 
you V he roared. 

" Please, Sir Rich-ich-ichard," stuttered the 
butler, "it's-it's the ch-ch-ch-ch-ild I" 

Lady Lawler uttered a piercing cry, and 
staggered back to one of the hall chairs, while 
Sir Richard let his hands fall from his old 
servant's collar, to stand as if petrified. 

He recovered himself, though, in a moment, 
to say — 

"Is he ill.?" 



TJiat L it fie Frenchman. 1 7 

"No, Sir Richard," said the under-butler, 
trembhng; "we think he's been stole away." 

Once more the stony, paralyzed look came 
over Sir Richard Lawler's face, as he stood 
staring straight before him at some imaginary 
scene. 

" Go on — speak. Tell me about it," he said at 
last, impatiently; and the man repeated all he 
knew, growing voluble over it as he gained 
confidence, and told of the different places they 
had searched, and ending by repeating Jane's 
words. 

It had come, then, at last: there could be no 
doubt about it. Riviere had threatened that he 
would strike at him through his tenderest sus- 
ceptibilities, though he had not thought then 
of what he might mean. Here, then, was the 
attack: he had struck at him through his child, 
he had taken the little fellow away. What for } 

VOL. III. 2 



1 8 TJiat Little FrcncJiman. 

What would he do ? Good God ! he would 
never murder the little curly-haired darling in 
cold blood! 

Sir Richard shivered for a few moments, like 
one suffering from ague; but it was only for a 
few moments; then he recovered himself, for he 
felt that it was time for action. 

" Go to your room," he said, sharply, to Lady 
Lawler, as she stood by his side, the image of 
despair — making no sign, uttering no cry, only 
listening greedily to all that was said ; the 
mother's feelings seeming to flash out from her 
eyes in the long, eager, hungry look she directed 
at each speaker in turn. 

"Go to your room," Sir Richard said again; 
for she neither moved nor seemed as if she had 
heard his words. 

"Addy, do you hear me.^" he said, firmly, 
but not in an unkind tone; "go to your room." 



TJiat Little FrcucJnnan. 19 

"Oh, no, no, no!" she exclaimed, piteously. 
" Do let me stay. I may be of use. Let me 
stop and help. I will be quite calm. What 
will you do first, Richard V 

To his great surprise, instead of turning 
hysterical, and engrossing the aid of all around, 
Lady Lawler seemed to rise to the occasion; 
and, in a quiet, determined way, came to his 
side and laid her hand upon his arm. 

"Come into the dining-room for a few 
minutes," he said, hoarsely, and leading the 
way. Lady Lawler followed him, and closed 
the door. 

The next moment she was by her husband's 
side, with her hands clasped upon his shoulder. 

"Dick, darling," she whispered, in a sweet, 
subdued voice, "this is my fault — all my fault. 
I have been a weak, silly woman, but I've not 
been wicked. This is a punishment for my folly 

2 — 2 



20 That Little Frenchman. 

and vanity. Try to forgive me ; for, come what 
may, it will be a lesson for life." 

Sir Richard's face worked as he listened to 
her words, and for reply he took her in his arms, 
kissed her forehead, and then sternly set himself 
to the work in hand. 

"What shall you do first.^" she whispered. 

"Question that woman," he said, almost 
harshly. "Ring." 

Lady Lawler flew to the bell, which was an- 
swered on the instant. 

" Send that woman in here," said Sir Richard. 

The butler shrank away trembling; and then 
for a few minutes Sir Richard paced the room. 
Then he stopped short; for a buzz of voices and 
hysterical cries was heard, as if descending the 
stairs. 

Directly after, the door was opened, and, sup- 
ported on either side by Sellars and the under- 



That L ittle Frenchman. 1 1 

butler, Jane was led in, pale and horrified, to 
glance from Sir Richard to her lady, and back 
again; when, apparently overcome with dread, 
she flung herself upon her knees, wildly begging 
for forgiveness — her words but half heard 
amidst inarticulate cries and sobs. 

"Silence, woman!" cried Sir Richard, so sa- 
vagely that the poor girl shivered and crouched 
closer to the floor, holding one arm above her 
head, as if to shield herself from the storm of 
wrath that she knew to be at hand. "Now," he 
continued, "tell me the whole truth. How did 
this happen.^" 

He paused for a reply, but none came; then, 
stamping his foot fiercely, Jane started and half 
shrieked — 

" Oh, yes— yes— I will— will tell. I— I— left 
him — in the dining — oh! — oh! — oh!" 

Here a burst of wild hysterical cries and sobs 



22 That Little Frciichinait. 

ensued, and every attempt to get further infor- 
mation proved vain, 

" Send for the police at once," exclaimed Sir 
Richard. 

*' No — no — no!" shrieked the poor girl, fran- 
tically; and, grovelling along the ground, she 
worked herself to the feet of Lady Lawler. 
''Don't, don't — pray don't send me to prison, 
my lady; oh, pray, pray, speak for me!" 

" Tell us all you know, then," said Lady Law- 
ler, sinking into a chair, a completely changed 
woman, and taking the poor girl's hands in 
hers. 

" Oh, yes, my lady — my dear lady," sobbed 
Jane, piteously; "I did love him so, my lady — 
my own dear boy! The window — oh, the win- 
dow! Oh! oh! — don't, don't send me to prison," 
she sobbed, her voice growing hoarser each mo- 
ment with her hysterical cries, till she lay, with 



That Little Frenchman. 23 

wild eyes and distorted face, glancing from one 
to the other, and clinging tightly to Lady Law- 
ler's hands. 

" She thinks you mean to have the police to 
take her," said Lady Lawler. "Say a few words 
to her gently, Richard." 

"Police — yes," exclaimed Sir Richard: "and 
she deserves it, too. She must have been neg- 
lecting her duty. Come, some of you, who 
can speak.? Let me hear all about it from the 
beginning." 

Half a dozen voices began at once; but, 
by silencing some and encouraging others, he 
obtained as perfect a statement as was pos- 
sible. 

" As I expected," exclaimed Sir Richard, bit- 
terly; "she was neglecting her duty." 

Jane uttered a loud wail. 

"The child — my child — was left here in the 



24 71iat Little Freiiclunan. 

dining-room, while this woman went no one 
knows where. How do we know but she was in 
league with that scoundrel who has taken him 
away? Now, Henry, quick — here! Stand aside, 
you fat mass of helplessness," he roared, as Mr. 
Sellars came cumbrously forward. "Now, let's 
search the house from top to bottom; he may 
still be here." 

Closely followed by Lady Lawler and the 
under-butler. Sir Richard thoroughly searched 
the house from garret to basement — in fact, this 
was the first thorough search; but, though cup- 
boards w^ere opened, beds felt, and the very 
cellars examined, there was no result; and the 
parents stood face to face with the bitter fact 
that the child was gone. 

In the meantime, Jane had been half led, half 
carried to her bed in the night nursery, where 
one of the servants stayed with her till a doctor 



That Little FrencJunan. 25 

who had been summoned, came, and adminis- 
tered a sedative, with the result that in a short 
time the poor girl had fallen into a deep 
sleep. 





CHAPTER III. 

GIVING EVIDENCE. 

HE police, of course : to come in veiy 

calm and ironical of aspect. A lost 

child ? One of them said it was a 

" rummy go." The other thought a child or 

two more or less didn't matter. 

'' I could get 'em a round dozen for ten bob 
apiece — healthy ones, eh, Bill .?" 

The other nodded shortly, for he was a man 
of few words; but he was, on the whole, more 
impressed than his fellow, inasmuch as, being 
a man of the world, he considered that a real 



That Little Frenchman. 27 

baronet's son was a being, even though a small 
one, of some importance, and it was a " case on" 
likely to mean prominence of name and future 
promotion. In fact, this was our old friend 
P.C. Wilkins, of the assault case, with whom 
fate dealt so hardly as regards advance. 

The accumulative brain power of two intel- 
ligent officers, then, was brought to bear upon 
the case ; and Sir Richard impatiently leaving 
the business to them, while cursing mentally 
the slow, matter-of-fact way in which they went 
to work, they examined the servants one by 
one, to find that the only being who knew 
anything about the matter was Fanny ; while 
her knowledge was next to nothing. 

However, every domestic was closely ques- 
tioned and cross-examined, each in turn taking 
the examination as a matter of course — in fact, 
revelling in it, and volunteering statement after 



28 That Little PrencJiman. 

statement that never entered into the constables' 
note books. 

But they say there is no rule without an 
exception, and the exception here was the 
cook, w^ho was in dudgeon at the first question 
put to her by that active and intelligent officer, 
P.C. Wilkins. In fact, RC. Wilkins had asked 
her what she considered an impertinent ques- 
tion, one that was "nothing to him nor nobody 
else." 

It was in this wise. ' 

" Now, ma'am," said P.C. Wilkins, who, al- 
though reserved in conversation, v/as a fluent 
talker in business — "now, ma'am, just have the 
kindness to tell me where you were at the time .''" 

It will be seen that P.C. Wilkins adopted the 
cross-examination style of a celebrated counsel, 
famous for the w^ay in which he twisted wit- 
nesses round his thumb. 



TJiat Little Frenchman. 29 

" I beg your parding," said cook, condescend- 
ingly. 

" I said, ma'am," said P.C. Wilkins, "where 
were you at the time ?" 

And reheving himself of this, he drew back 
his head like an inquisitive magpie, and looked 
sidewise at the haughty dame. 

" Which I presoom that aint any business of 
yours," said cook. 

"My good woman," said P.C. Wilkins, "have 
the goodness to answer my question. I said — " 

"And pray who do you call my good woman .?" 
said cook, in the softest and most suave of 
tones — those dulcet notes that in low life gene- 
rally presage a violent vituperative storm. 

P.C. Wilkins was a wise man ; he saw his 
danger, and put up a metaphorical umbrella to 
ward off the shower. He knew his style of 
woman ; and also that if she once got an innings 



30 That Little Frenchman. 

after her mode, he might bowl for hours without 
ever getting a chance at her stumps. Therefore, 
in the sweetly expressive wording of our Trans- 
atlantic brethren, he "caved in," and tried 
another way to the gold mine of the culinary 
understanding. 

" It was merely a way we have, ma'am," he 
said, respectfully. "No offence meant, I assure 
you, ma'am ; pray, don't think me rude. Such 
an unpleasant duty to perform ; but you see — " 

" I don't see nothing of the sort," said cook, 
huffily. 

"No, my dear madam," said P.C. Wilkins, 
" but a lady of your intelligence must see in a 
moment." 

Cook snorted, and refused to accept the oil of 
reconciliation, determinedly snubbing her exa- 
miner at nearly every question, and going off 
into irrelevant offence, in a way that was aggra- 



That Little Frenchman. 3 1 

vating even to the patience of an experienced 

policeman, 

"Now, just look here a moment, ma'am," said 

P.C. Wilkins, wiping now a dewy moisture from 

his brow. 

" I tell you, my good man, I'm as innercent 

as a unborn child," said cook ; and she threw 

back her head, and looked from one to the 

other triumphantly. 

"Nobody says you are not," exclaimed P.C. 
Wilkins, who might long before this have given 
up — seeing with half an eye that there was 
nothing to be obtained from a dame who, like 
the celebrated Frau Vandersloosh of " Snarle- 
yow," was " too fat not to be honest." 

" It don't matter to me what anybody thinks 
or what anybody don't think," said cook, de- 
fiantly. " I mind my business, and it's a pity 
as other people don't mind theirs, instead of 



32 TJiat Little FrencJiman. 

coming and treating respectable servants of 
good character as if they were pickpockets. 
Sir Richard ought to be ashamed of himself" 

''Never mind Sir Richard," said P.C. Wilkins, 
getting now as obstinate as the irate dame. 
**Just you answer my questions, or you may 
get yourself into trouble ; so now, then ! " 

"There's the keys of my boxes, pleeceman, 
and you may search them through and 
through ; and as to dripping, that's my per- 
quisite, and no business of anybody's ; so now 
then!" 

P.C. Wilkins gave up in despair after this, for 
he could not imagine that the child had locked 
himself into one of the cook's boxes ; and the 
conclusion of his examination was an aggregate 
of nil. 

Here was the state of affairs. 

Nobody had seen any one come. 



That Little Frenchman. 33 

Nobody had seen any one go. 

Jane confessed to having left the child in the 
dining-room while she went upstairs to brush a 
merino dress that was getting full of the moth. 

Fanny only knew she had met Jane, who said 
that she was going away for a few minutes, and 
that she asked her to look at Master Clive. 

The other servants could tell nothing ; and 
to all appearance the matter was a mystery not 
likely to be solved. 



^. 




VOL. III. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE CULPRIT. 

FTER the policemen had 
been at work about two 
hours, questioning, exa- 
mining, searching, and 
finding out nothing, they 
returned to Sir Richard, 
who gazed at them in- 
quiringly. 

"Well, Sir Richard," 
said P.C. Wilkins, frankly, "we've done no 
good as yet." 

"Let us see, then, together," said Sir 




TJiat Little FrcncJnnan. 35 

Richard, bitterly. ''Good God, men, we have 
wasted quite two hours. Here, come into my 
room. Now, here is my opinion," he said, to 
give them a clue, and to see if they would follow 
it up ; for he had purposely refrained from say- 
ing anything so far, to try whether the unaided 
sense of the men would hit upon a new line. 
"Now, look here," said Sir Richard ; ''the facts 
are plain enough — the child has been stolen. 
He was left in the dining-room, with the win- 
dow open, and now he is gone. Look first, and 
see if yon think it possible for anybody to have 
climbed in from the outside. I do." 

The two officers carefully examined the win- 
dow from the inside, and then from the outside, 
to return and enunciate their opinion that it was 
quite possible for an active man to have climbed 
up the imitation projecting stones that ran up 
past the dining-room window. The only diffi- 



36 That Little Frenchman. 

culty was — how could it have been done in the 
broad dayhght without exciting attention from 
people passing to and fro ? 

The first policeman shook his head, and said 
it was a very queer go. 

P.C. Wilkins, too, was dubious, and declared 
his opinion ; and that was that nobody would 
climb into that dining-room and steal a little 
boy, when there was over two hundred pounds' 
worth of silver lying to hand upon the 
table. 

"Pish!" ejaculated Sir Richard. "Well, 
what are you going to do.?" 

" See about all followers who come to the 
house, for one thing. Sir Richard," said P.C. 
Wilkins, sagely; "women's sweethearts, and 
men's wives, if they have any." 

" Yes," said Sir Richard Lawler, " that's 
a good idea, but it means nothing. Have 



That Little FrencJunan. o^j 

you heard anything about a foreigner — a 
man?" 

"That Httle Frenchman? Oh, yes, Sir 
Richard, I've put that down; but I don't think 
much of that." 

" Then you are wrong," said Sir Richard, 
excitedly. " I tell you that the child has been 
stolen: I have no doubt about the matter. I 
can even give you the name and appearance 
of the man who, I feel sure, is the principal 
actor in the affair. You doubt it?" 

'' Well, sir, yes, since you put it so," replied 
the constable. 

" Never mind — I am sure this is your man. 
Trace him ; find out whether he has been lurk- 
ing about to-day. Search well, and you will 
find the child either with him, or amongst his 
associates." 

P.C. Wilkins brought out his book, and 



38 TJiat Little Frenchman. 

Sir Richard gave him an accurate word-painting 
of Riviere; while Lady Lawler entered, and sat 
down, with clasped hands and knitted brow, 
listening to every word. 

"Only bring him back," she exclaimed, at 
last, unable longer to restrain her pent-up feel- 
ings, " and anything you ask for shall be 
yours." 

"Adelaide! Did you not promise me that 
you would be silent.''" exclaimed Sir Richard, 
impatiently. 

"Yes, yes, I will," she said, meekly. 

And then she sat with pitiful aspect watch- 
ing the constable, who suddenly brightened 
up. 

"Why, begging your pardon. Sir Richard, 
this is the chap I took for 'sault and battery 
that night." 

" To be sure — yes, the same." 



That Little Frenchnimi. 39 

" Ah-h-h-h-h!" ejaculated the man, with a 
very long-drawn whistle. '' I see ! Spite in the 
case, eh? That'll do, Sir Richard. You just 
leave the matter in our hands. It will be all 
right." 

The baronet did not seem to see it in that 
light, but he was silent. 

Then, to avoid gossiping on the part 
of the servants, Sir Richard Lawler let the 
officers out himself, thereby trapping Mr. 
Sellars, who was waiting in the big hall 
chair to cross-examine the constables in his 
turn. 

Sir Richard returned to the dining-room, 
racked by the misery of his position. Here 
he stayed for a few minutes; and then, unable 
to bear the inaction any longer, he sent for a 
cab ; but before it could possibly be brought, 
he went out to meet it, and made the man 



4<^ T J Lilt Little FrencJunan. 

gallop off to Scotland-yard, where he made 
known his case. 

Here he was told to make himself perfectly 
easy. The description of the child would be 
sent all over London, and not many hours 
would elapse before it was safely returned. 

Sir Richard shuddered as he heard that 
word safely; but he said nothing, only hurried 
back to his cab, and told the man to gallop 
back. 

"He could not be such a fiend as to hurt a 
hair of his head," he muttered, as he sank into a 
corner; springing out the moment the cab pulled 
up, and entering to find that Lady Lawlcr had 
not moved from her seat since he had been 
away. 

She no sooner saw him, though, than she 
sprang to his side; and the next minute she 
was clinging to him, and sobbing bitterly. 



That Little Frencjmian. 



41 



"Oh, Dick!" she cried— "oh, Dick! Teli me 
that he cannot hurt our darhng. What have 
I done ? Dick, dear Dick, be pitiful to your 
foolish wife!" 





CHAPTER V. 

TROUBLOUS TIMES. 
N anxious night and an anxious day. 
Lady Lawler had watched at home; 
Sir Richard had occupied himself in 
going from station to station seeking news, but 
finding none. He learned at the Soho cafe 
Riviere's address, and went there to find that 
here the clue ended, save only that he might 
send a letter. He learned, though, here more of 
Riviere's affliction than he had known before; 
but it brought no softening of his heart towards 
the man whom he now bitterly hated. 

On reaching home he had no reply to give to 



That Little Prcnchnian. 43 

his wife's piteous look, and he sat down thought- 
ful and desponding, sore of heart, for he loved 
the little one dearly. 

The doctor had strictly forbidden all question- 
ing of Jane, to the great disappointment of " a 
quiet sort of party — a very ornery pusson," so 
James described him — a man who had been in 
and out a good deal that day, going down the 
area steps with an aspect of having a box of 
steel pens to leave, as an industrious tradesman 
in great distress. But he did not leave any 
pens; nor yet ask for subscribers' names to the 
New Topographical, Geographical, and Ethno- 
graphical Dictionary, to be issued in nine hun- 
dred penny numbers, published weekly. 

In spite, though, of all his coming and going, 
and his colloquies with servants on the mat, and 
private interviews with Sir Richard and her lady- 
ship in the study, nothing came ^it the end of a 



44 That Little Frcnchniarc. 

week, and Jane was still so ill that the very 
mention of the child's name sent her into a state 
of frenzy, which required the doctor's most 
powerful sedatives to calm. 

Then there was news. Riviere had been found 
and watched; and this was announced to Sir 
Richard and his lady. 

"Well.^" they both exclaimed. "And the 
child — what have you learnt or seen — what was 
Riviere doing.?" 

"Well, Sir Rich'd," said the man, "to tell the 
truth, he was fiddlin'." 

"Fiddling.?" 

"Yes, Sir Rich'd, scraping away wonderful, 
down in a little lodging off Leicester-square." 

"But the child.?" 

"I can't see nothing or find nothing against 
him, Sir Richard," said the man, taking out his 
book. "You can have a warrant out against 



That Little FrcncJnnan, 45 

him, if you like; but unless you've got some 
case ao-ainst a man, that won't do. Here's 
Louis Riviere's whereabouts for the last nine 
days. 

" Sunday : French church and little cafe. 
Monday: lodgings in the morning, Soho theatre 
rehearsal in the afternoon, orchestra in the even- 
ing. Tuesday, the same; Wednesday, the same; 
Thursday, the same; and the same again Friday 
and Saturday. Sunday, repetition of Sunday 
before; and Monday, beginning again rehearsal; 
for they've got a new piece on the way, with a 
lot of singing and dancing in it, and he's one of 
the fiddlers. I've seen his lodgings when he's 
out, and altogether there isn't a thing, so far as 
I can see, against him." 

"He must have been working by means of his 
agents," said Sir Richard, fiercely. " There, go ! 
Spare no pains — no money to trace this out." 



46 TJiat Little FrcncJnnan. 

" I want to see that maid of yours, Sir 
Richard," said the man, quietly; "that's a nut 
I want to crack next; and perhaps it may have 
some kernel in it — perhaps not; but while I'm 
stopped from seeing her, how would it be if her 
ladyship here went up sometimes to her bedside, 
and tried to get a little out of her ? It's worth 
trying." 

Sir Richard nodded, and her ladyship rose 
eagerly to go, but the man arrested her. 

"No hurry, my lady; and don't go in excited. 
Wait your time, and as soon as I have anything 
to communicate, I'll come." 

He. left the room, and Lady Lawler uttered a 
bitter cry. 

"Don't be excited ! Oh, what does the man 
think a mother's heart is like } Let me go to 
her now, Richard, and then let me go to this 
man, this Riviere. Oh ! Richard, you judged us 



That Little FrcncJimmi. 



47 



both wrongfully; but I believe he esteemed and 
liked me. Let me go to him as a bereaved 
mother — go down upon my knees to him, and 
beg of him forgiveness for us both. You injured 
him deeply; he suffered much. Let me make 
atonement for both, and ask him to give me 
back my child. He will listen to me, and hear 
me; he will give me back my darling if I humble 
myself to him. Oh ! Richard, Richard ! — I can- 
not bear this suspense much longer. Let me go 
to him, or I shall go mad." 

"Hush, Addy. Pray, pray think. It is im- 
possible; and, besides, we are in a position to 
command, not to go to him as suppliants. 
Wait awhile: the law is many-eyed and watchful. 
We have done something — we have found the 
lurking-place of our enemy; let us be content 
with that." 

"But, Richard, let me go." 



48 That Little FrencJnnan. 

'* Yes," he said, bitterly, "if you will let me go 
with you." 

"That would be madness indeed: he would 
rise against you, and we should be worse 
off than before. Richard, dear Richard, can 
you not trust me t — it is for our child's 
sake." 

" It is impossible," said Sir Richard, sternly. 
" Wait and see. Do you not think I am as sore 
of heart as you } We have a cunning and un- 
principled enemy to deal with, and we must 
meet him with the cunning that our money 
can buy. Now go quietly up, and see this 
woman." 

Lady Lawler sighed and obeyed ; return- 
ing at the end of an hour, anxious and 
wan. 

"Well ? Could you get her to speak V 

"Yes, Richard; but there is only a strength- 



TJiat Little FrencJiman. 49 

ening of that which we already know. She 
left the child for a few minutes while she 
went upstairs ; when she came back he was 
gone." 

'' An accursed wretch ! " cried Sir Richard, 
through his teeth. 

"She says that in setting Fanny to watch 
him, she thought she had done all possible ; 
and the poor creature is in horrible grief and 
suffering." 

" Is she getting better .?" 

" Yes, I think so." 

"Then let the police see her as soon as pos- 
sible ; then let her leave this house for good ; 
for if I come across her — if I ever set eyes 
upon her again, I feel that I cannot contain 
myself." 

"Oh, Richard, what do you mean .!^" sobbed 
Lady Lawler. 

VOL. Ill, ^^ 



50 



That Little Frenchman. 



"Mean!" exclaimed her husband. "I mean 
that I feel as if I could strangle her, with as 
little remorse as I could some venomous beast 
that had stung me to my death." 







iiiit 



mm 




CHAPTER VL 

SIR RICHARD'S VISIT. 

ATTERS remained unchanged in Gros- 
venor-square. Jane grew better by 
degrees, and one of her first acts was 
to write a letter to Abram Higgs, telHng him 
on no account to come and see her for the 
present ; that the h'ttle boy was lost, and that 
there was a terrible outcry about it ; that she 
was not to blame, that she loved the little 
thing dearly ; and the result would be that 
she (Jane) would be sure to have to leave, and 
trust to those who cared for her for a home. 
Jane would have added a line telling her 

4—2 



5 2 That L if tie Frenchman. 

fiance that he need not answer that letter, only 
she knew that there was no necessity, for Abram 
could barely write his own name. 

She learned, though, that he had twice way- 
laid fellow-servants to ask after her health, and 
she could not help feeling a thrill of pleasure 
at his fidelity. 

Then came three or four arduous examina- 
tions and cross-examinations, wherein Jane told 
again and again her story, every word of which 
was as simple and straightforward as could be. 
She only suppressed one thing, and that was 
the coming of Abram Higgs. 

" If I tell them about him," argued Jane to 
herself, " it will be ruin for both of us : he will 
be in difficulties as well as myself. I am certain 
to lose my place ; but that is no reason why 
he should lose his, and deprive himself of the 
chance of ofTering me a home," 



'fJiat Lit lie F]-cncluiian. 53 

Here Jane sobbed a good deal, and mentally 
vowed that if she could only get well over this 
terrible trial, she would never, never again do 
anything deceitful or underhanded. 

Sir Richard at last took Jane's part against 
the law. He said it was little better than folly 
to torture her. She had told all that she 
knew — that was evident. Her fault was in 
leaving the child ; for which her punishment 
had been already settled — she was to be dis- 
missed. 

Inquiry after inquiry was made. The police, 
stimulated by rewards, went off upon this track, 
and upon that track. Now, the idea was in the 
official mind that one or other of the itinerant 
dealers who had urged Jane to buy when at the 
window must have been of gipsy blood, and 
true to their old traditions, have carried off the 
child ; the result being that casual wards were 



54 TJiat Little Frenchman. 

searched and tramps' resorts visited in and out 
of London, and child after child brought for Sir 
Richard and his lady to identify. 

For all of these proceedings Sir Richard had 
a frown. He was certain of one thing, and that 
was that Riviere had the child ; and no matter 
what the police said of their inquiries, watchings, 
and examinations, he remained stubbornly fixed 
in the one idea that Riviere, his enemy, had done 
this ; till the officers shrugged their shoulders, 
grew less energetic— worn out, as they were, 
with disappointment — and took up fresh cases, 
running new game to earth; the lost child, 
after nine days' wonder, being displaced in the 
public mind by a cause celebre. 

Sir Richard did not rest alone in his ideas, for 
Lady Lawler in silence shared them ; but, as 
the days glided by, each sorrowed in private — 
the child's name was not even mentioned, though 



TJiat Little Frenchman. ' 55 

they were both brooding over the same thought, 
and making the same plans. 

Sir Richard was the first to put his in force; 
and, without saying a word, he one day sought 
the dingy place where the police informed him 
they had, after infinite trouble, found Riviere to 
be lodging. 

It was in one of those wretched, densely popu- 
lated streets where a well-dressed person is so 
seldom seen. Traffic, save that of foot passen- 
gers, there was none; the result being its forming 
a playground for the teeming life of the place. 
Upon every other doorstep there was a little girl 
or boy nursing one a trifle less, and screaming 
out orders to others in the roadway. Shuttle- 
cocks were flying, and balls being thrown in 
various directions; children were playing a kind 
of hop-scotch on the chalked pave; a couple 
of barrow-mcn stcerincf their course the while 



56 7 hat Little frcncJunan. 



through the ragged, dirty, juvenile swarm, and 
yelling their vegetable and fishy wares. 

The door of the house Sir Richard sought was 
open, and upon one doorpost was a row of bell- 
pulls; but from their loose and mutilated aspect, 
it was plain that appeals made in that way would 
be of doubtful effect, the union between handle 
and wire in more than one case having ter- 
minated in a divorce sacred to silence. 

He paused for a few minutes, and then, re- 
calling the instructions he had received, deter- 
mined to mount at once without question ; when 
a baby-bearing urchin came and stood staring 
up in his face, at the imminent risk of being 
trampled upon, and asked him if he wanted 
Mrs. Simpkins. 

" No, my child, go away," said Sir Richard. 

" 'Cause she's my mother," said the child. 

Sir Richard hastily walked by, and com- 



That Little Frenchmati. 57 

menced ascending the creaking staircase, won- 
dering whether it would be looked upon as a 
trouble if one or both of the children he had 
just seen thriving in that dirt should be lost. 

It was a dingy ascent. Paint that had been 
placed upon the walls fifty years before was 
coming off like a thin bark from a tree that is 
dead. At every floor he came upon a foul door, 
blackened with finger marks, greasy and ill- 
looking; but at last he stood on the topmost 
landing, where the sloping roof compelled him 
to stoop, and he hesitated for a few moments 
before he ventured to lay his hand upon the 
door to enter. 

For what had he come.'* To threaten or to 
implore — whichever might be needed; anything 
so as to get a clue to where the child had been 
placed. He hesitated, though, now that he was 
here — here in this vile region. Suppose Riviere 



58 TJiat Little FrencJiuian. 

— now, of course, sunk into an equality with the 
people around — should summon some of them 
to his aid, and in some way take revenge upon 
him! 

Pooh! it was absurd — romantic; and, turning 
the handle, he strode in unannounced, to stand 
the next moment face to face with the French- 
man. 

The surprise was so great, that for a few 
seconds neither spoke — Riviere being astounded 
that Sir Richard should have come there; Sir 
Richard wondering, from the terrible alteration 
that had taken place in Riviere, whether he 
had not made a mistake, and visited the wrong 
man. 

He was not long in doubt, though ; for the 
change that took place in Riviere warned him 
he stood in the presence of a deadly enemy. 
The little Frenchman, as he cast down the 



That Little FrencJunan. 59 

cigarette he had been smoking, slowly rose from 
a broken chair, his eyes gleaming, and his thin 
lips drawn tightly away from his teeth, which 
shone white and cruel, as those of some savage 
beast. With an action that seemed almost spas- 
modic, he plunged his hand into his breast, but 
drew it out again as suddenly; and then, point- 
ing towards the door with his thin, quivering 
fingers, he gasped out, in a voice that was harsh 
and even metallic in its shrillness — 

" Go — if you wish to live, go; or I shall have 
your — " 

He did not finish his sentence; but, as if 
unable to contain himself longer, he thrust aside 
the table between them, and made at Sir Richard, 
who started back through the door, and stood on 
the other side holding it tightly, trembling the 
while all over, even as a brave-hearted man 
might shiver after escaping the spring of some 



6o TJuit Little Freiicluiuni. 

wild beast. The perspiration stood out upon 
his forehead; and he dragged at the handle, 
imagination telling him that the Frenchman was 
exerting all his might on the other side. At one 
time he thought of calling for help, but he re- 
mained silently listening for the next movements 
of his enemy. The only sounds that came up 
were the murmurings of voices in the house, and 
the cries and shouts of the playing children in 
the street. 

Why did he come there } he asked him- 
self. He might be murdered, and the crime 
never discovered ; for none knew of his coming. 

At length his nervous trepidation passed off. 
No effort was made to drag open the door; and, 
calling himself coward the while, he slowly un- 
clasped the handle, expecting each moment to 
stand again face to face with Riviere, glaring, 
maddened, and savage ; and then, stiff with re- 



TJiat Little Frcnchmaji. 6i 

maining so long in one position, he slowly 
backed down the stairs, ignorant that, as far 
from the door as he could o-et, Riviere was 
crouching in a corner, his fingers pressed into 
his ears, his eyes closed, and his every force 
engaged in battling with the horrible homicidal 
mania that had seized upon him. 

Reaching the second floor. Sir Richard 
breathed more freely, and even thought of re- 
turning; but the recollection of the savage 
glare of the Frenchman's eyes made him shud- 
der, and descend slowly the rest of the way, 
till he stood once more in the free daylight, the 
dingy light, and foul, stale odour of the house, 
though, still clinging to his senses as he picked 
his way through the swarming children. 

What had he done ? Nothing — learned 
nothing, save that Riviere's hate for him was 
deadly in the extreme. 



^2 That Little Frenchman. 

He strode away, disheartened and angry, at 
times calling himself coward, then determining 
to try once more for information through the 
police ; but ended by thinking that he would 
wait for awhile — wait and see whether anything 
would happen to throw light upon the past. 
Then he felt that his behaviour had been that 
of a cur : he had stood face to face with the 
man who had bereft him of his child, and yet 
he had shrunk from him. He found some excuse, 
though, in the act he had seen Riviere perform 
— that thrusting of his hand into his breast. 

" These foreigners think no more of shedding 
blood than we do of knocking a man down," he 
muttered ; and then, turning into Oxford-street, 
he mingled with the busy stream. 







CHAPTER VII. 

LADY LAWLER'S MISSION. 

IR RICHARD LAWLER had now 

come to think that his harsh suspicions 
of Riviere had been groundless. Lady 
Lawler, on her part, had determined that for the 
future her conduct should be of the most cir- 
cumspect. Nothing should ever induce her to 
act in any way so as to give her husband a 
pang. 

The incense of Riviere had been very 
sweet to her : flattery and attention had been 
at one time almost necessary to her existence. 
But, for the future, she vowed that nothing 



64 TJiat Little Frenchmaji. 

should ever induce her to take a step that would 
in any way annoy her husband. 

She thought this one half-hour, and the 
next she was brooding over an idea that had 
occurred to her. Unwittingly she had come to 
the same determination as Sir Richard — 
namely, to visit Riviere and appeal to him ; 
even as Abigail of old appealed for mercy to 
David on behalf of Nabal. 

" He will listen to me," she said. '' He 
was always kind. He must have had some 
feeling of the warmest friendship for me in 
the past, or he would not have been so atten- 
tive. 

" He is under an obligation — many obliga- 
tions to me," she thought again; and, in spite 
of herself, a warm flush spread over her neck 
and face. 

" I'll go and beg of him to give me back my 



That Little Frenchman. 65 

boy!" she exclaimed, almost hysterically, as 
she mentally pictured the scene, growing each 
moment more excited and nervous. 

She felt that she could not tell Sir Richard ; 
for if she did, he would certainly insist upon 
going with her ; and in that case, of course, she 
must give up all thought of such a proceeding, 
as it would only result in some fresh terrible 
encounter. She felt a horror of Riviere nov; 
that she accused him of this act — this cruel 
deed by which, in his revenge upon the father, 
he had not scrupled to lacerate the mother's 
heart. 

" I will go to him," she exclaimed, deter- 
minedly, "and he shall give me back my 
boy." 

Then the recollection of her loss sent her 
back into her chair, to weep hysterically for 
awhile, till she rose once more tirm and deter- 

VOL. III. 5 



66 TJiat Little FrencJnnan. 

mined, and set about her preparations for the 
visit. 

Now, to an ordinary body such a proceeding 
would mean waiting till the husband had gone 
to the City, and then putting on bonnet and 
shawl, and going. But Lady Lawler was in 
society, and her first necessary step was to 
counter-order the carriage, her next to give 
notice to the servant on duty that she was not 
at home, and her next to invent some excuse 
for going out walking and alone. 

Possibly if she had quietly gone upstairs, 
dressed, and then walked out, her absence would 
have been quite unnoticed, and the first warning 
of her having left the house would have been in 
her return, when one of the men answered her 
summons at the door ; but Lady Lawler had no 
sooner resolved upon her plan than she looked 
upon herself as a deeply designing conspirator, 



TJiat Little Frenchmaji. 67 

and came to the conclusion that her every act 
was being carefully watched ; and she trembled 
accordingly. 

She made her arrangements, dismissed her 
maid, and then, as plainly dressed as she could 
contrive to be, she stood closely veiled within 
her bed-room door, waiting for an opportunity 
to descend. 

There was nothing to prevent her immediate 
exit, for the servants were all out of sight and 
hearing; but every sound that went through 
the house made her shrink back trembling, and 
half decided not to attempt to leave. 

Then she got the better of her dread, stamped 
her foot angrily, and asked herself whether she 
was not mistress there ; and after half a dozen 
futile efforts, screwed her courage up to the 
point which enabled her to leave her bed-room, 
and to descend slowly; but before she had gone 

5—2 



6S That Little Frenchman. 

half-way down, she became aware of the fact 
that some one was ascending; and a moment 
or two afterwards she came face to face with 
Jane, who, pale and nervous, shrank against 
the wall, and stood w^atching her till she was 
in the hall. 

"She knows where I am going — I am sure 
she does," muttered Lady Lawler. " If I had 
only started before, or waited five minutes, I 
might have gone off unobserved." 

"She's as much against me as he is," mut- 
tered Jane, as her lady disappeared from her 
sight. " I shall have to go, of course. It shall 
be at once, then." 

But second thoughts induced Jane to alter 
her mind. 

" No," she said, " I'll wait till they send me 
away." 

Meanwhile, Lady Lawler crossed her own 



That Little Frenchman. 69 

hall by stealth, trembling, drew back the fasten- 
ing of the great door and hurried out, not daring 
to look to the right or left, lest she should 
encounter her husband's angry gaze; and then, 
with the dread still troubling her that she was 
watched — that every one who passed her was 
gazing at her with suspicious eyes, and was 
ready to divine the object of her journey — she 
walked on faster and faster, expecting in her 
nervousness each moment that a restraining 
hand would be laid upon her shoulder, and that 
she would be led back, humbled and disgraced. 

The magnitude of that which she v/as at- 
tempting increased to her troubled mind each 
moment, and she was several times on the point 
of turning back; only the recollection of the 
influence she hoped to have upon Riviere urged 
her on. 

She had heard too often, in the interviews 



70 That Little Frejickman. 

with the police, not to know well where Riviere 
was now lodging; but, in spite of all she had 
heard, she had never conceived so low and 
squalid a place as that through which she at 
last bent her steps. And now she had some 
cause for her imaginings; for her tall stately 
figure and flowing dress drew plenty of gazers, 
till, panting and ready to drop with excitement, 
she reached the number in the wretched street, 
hurried into the passage, and stood there glad 
o( its gloom as a protection from the eyes of the 
curious. 

Recovering somewhat, she knocked at the 
first door she saw, and a repulsive-looking 
woman, after a few moments, thrust out her 
head. 



(^4-A QMQ Q^S-M G 4^0 QA^M QM-0 Q.4.J) Q 4. a 

Q:^ yr- '^ -^^^r- ' -^^.^r-.,' -^^^f^'> -^^^r- '-^^^r- ' "-^^^r- . -^^^ 



CHAPTER VIII. 

A RENCONTRE. 

OES Monsieur Riviere re- 
side here?" said Lady 
Lawler, nervously. 

" Upstairs," said the 
woman, harshly, and 
banged the door to on 
the instant. 

The visitor ascended 
another stage, and here 
she was more fortunate; 
for a ragged child came to the door of what 
in the palmy days of the street had doubtless 




72 That Little Frenchman. 

been the drawing-room, and, upon the same 
question being put to her, immediately volun- 
teered to show "the lady" the room. 

"The lady" shuddered, and gathered her 
skirts more closely round her, as the ascent of 
each flight of stairs revealed more misery and 
squalor. She shrank from the greasy wall, 
polished by many a year's contact, and then 
started from the dirty, worm-eaten balustrade, 
standing trembling, at length, in front of the 
door which gave admittance to the den where 
Riviere found shelter. 

She dismissed the child with a piece of silver, 
sending the poor girl wondering away, startled 
at the amount of treasure that had suddenly 
fallen to her lot; and then Lady Lawler stood, 
with clasped hands, listening, and as if held there 
by some nightmare when she wished to flee. 
For she felt now that it was impossible to go 



That Little Frenchmmi. 73 

farther. She dared not face Riviere. What a 
place was this to which she had come ! And 
that noise — those footsteps downstairs — were 
they those of her husband, who had tracked her 
there ? 

She would have given anything now to have 
been at home, and her nervous trepidation in- 
creased more and more, till it seemed as if a 
mist was before her eyes, and, with a faint cry of 
dread, she clasped with one delicately gloved 
hand the dirty balustrade, to keep herself from 
falling. 

She could see nothing for the giddiness; but, 
unable to flee, she stood there trembling as a 
door opened, an ejaculation fell upon her ear, 
and the next moment she felt some one take her 
hand, lead her forward, close a door, and then 
she was pressed back into a seat. 

The sound of a voice roused her; and as the 



74 TJiat Little Frenchman. 

mist seemed to clear away, she saw Riviere 
standing before her with folded arms. 

"Miladi honours me with her presence," he 
said, bitterly. "To what do I owe this visit?" 

Dread, shame, every other feeling fled before 
the maternal instinct, as Lady Lawler rose and 
threw herself upon her knees before the French- 
man, catching one of his hands in hers, and look- 
ing up in his face, with streaming eyes — 

"Oh, Monsieur Riviere!" she exclaimed, pas- 
sionately, "give me back my boy." 

"Does miladi come here thinking that I have 
her child V he said, coldly. 

"Oh — yes — yes — yes! Give me back my 
boy, and I will bless you." 

"Miladi is mistaken; she is misled by those 
who hate me. I have not her son." 

"No," she cried; "but you have hidden him. 
You took him to be revenged upon my husband ; 



That Little FrencJwian. 75 

but, Monsieur Riviere, you were also striking at 
me. It is next to death to me to suffer as I do. 
But you will give him back to me." 

"I have him not," said the Frenchman, coldly. 
"I know. The police have been, and they have 
watched day by day. You have lost your son — 
I have lost my wife." 

" I know how cruelly my husband behaved to 
you. He was mad, and blind, and foolish ; but 
I tried all I could to turn him from his folly, 
and yet you would punish me." 

''Woman!" exclaimed Riviere, passionately, 
and he caught her by the wrist, and gazed at 
her with glittering eyes, " I have suffered every 
indignity at his hands — insults, blows. He, the 
strong, has oppressed me, the weak — calling in 
the powers of the law to his aid ; and, through 
him, I have been robbed of all that was most 
dear to me. Not content with this, he heaps 



76 That Little Frenc/mtan. 

insults upon my head. He charges me with 
stealing his son ; and I am made the object of 
the espionage of your police." 

"But you took my boy!" sobbed Lady 
Lawler. 

** If I had taken him — if I had planned to 
bring him up so that he might prove a curse 
and a disgrace to those who gave him birth — if 
I should train him up so that this heir to a 
baronetcy might in good time become the 
prey of the hangman, I should be only having 
my just revenge for all that has been heaped 
upon me." 

" But you will not do all this V sobbed the 
poor woman. 

''You believe, then, that I have taken him }'' 

''Oh, yes, yes," exclaimed Lady Lawler, sob- 
bing. 

" Who told you this ?" 



That Little Frenchman. 77 

" It was my husband's impression from the 
first," she sobbed. 

" Yes, of course ! " said Riviere. 

" You uttered such threats," she exclaimed. 

" Threats ? What were my threats as op* 
posed to his cruelty ?" 

"■ But, monsieur, you will give my boy back 
to his mother's arms, and anything shall be 
done. Richard shall apologize, shall make you 
every recompense — shall do ever^^thing you 
wish. If you are — if you want money, you 
shall have it. Only give me back my 
boy." 

"Stand up, madam," cried Riviere, fiercely. 
'* Will apologies give me back my honour and 
self-esteem } Will recompenses restore me the 
years I have lost ? Will money make me what 
I was — a gentleman — from what I am — the 
coarsest of animals, a liberated prisoner } Will 



y8 TJiat Little FrencJwtan, 

all he has, do you think, restore me my wife, 
and make me happy again ?" 

" Oh, no ! oh, no ! We have behaved cruelly 
to you ; but you will be magnanimous, and 
try to forgive. It was not my doing ; I could 
not help it. Do not send me away in de- 
spair." 

" Do you think the pangs of your despair 
will be any keener, madam, than mine } But, 
there, leave me. You have been sent, and the 
sight of you maddens me once more. I cannot 
bear it. I have not your boy." 

"Do not send me away," she cried, passion- 
ately. 

"Yes — go; leave me," cried Riviere, ex- 
citedly. "Ah! I thought as much ! " 

The door had been thrown open, and Sir 
Richard Lawler appeared, to stand petrified 
with astonishment. 



That Little FrcncJunan. 79 

"You here, Adelaide?" he exclaimed, sa- 
vagely. 

" Oh ! yes, Richard. Forgive me — I came to 
seek my — " 

She could say no more, but tottered towards 
her husband, to fall fainting in his arms ; while 
the two men stood glaring at each other, till Ri- 
viere spoke, his every word seeming barbed with 
malignant venom as it sank into the baronet's 
breast. 

"Ah, then," said Riviere, coldly, "it begins to 
work, does it ; and you can tell a little of what 
it is to suffer, eh t But take her away ; go back 
to your noble mansion, pauvres enfans, and be 
happy, even as I am in this attic. Go — go at 
once, while I am calm ; for at times my blood 
rushes into my brain when I think of you and 
your cowardice, and then I feel as if I could 
kill," 



8o That Little Frenchman. 

He drew back, and commenced slowly roll- 
ing a cigarette, but never took his eyes from 
Sir Richard, who, raging, mortified, and hum- 
bled to find that his wife had come to hold a 
clandestine interview with his enemy, now threw 
open the door, and called in the policeman who 
had come to form his body-guard upon this his 
second venture to encounter the Frenchman. 

*'Ah!" exclaimed the latter, as he glanced 
from the face he seemed to have been reading 
as easily as a book. " Ah, then we have here 
the spy. Good ! And the spy will spread it all 
over London that miladi, the delicate and fair, 
comes to visit the exile in his miseiy. It is 
good ; people will talk, and the revenge begins 
to work well." 

"You villain !" gasped Sir Richard, who was 
choking with passion. " Speak to me again like 
that, and I will strike you down." 



That Little Frenchman, 8i 

" Ah, ma foi ! you can strike me down no 
lower than I am," said Riviere, contemptuously, 
as he lit his cigarette, and began to smoke, *' I 
am beginning to enjoy my revenge. Go, mad- 
man, and take away your lady — poor thing ! — 
from this place ; the character of it will cling to 
her like pollution, and no cleansing shall make 
it pure." 

"You'd better being her slowly down, sir," 
said the officer ; " but will you keep from 
blows while I fetch a cab V 

" Yes, yes," said Sir Richard, furiously ; 
"only be quick, for this wretch will madden 
me." 

"Ah, don't you take no notice of him — a 
little furren wasp," said the officer, contemp- 
tuously. "All I'm afraid of is your forgetting 
yourself, and striking of him. Don't — take my 

^.vice. Sir Richard," he whispered, "don't. It 

VOL. III. 6 



82 That Little Frenchman, 

won't pay here, and you don't want to be in the 
papers, I know ; let alone — " 

He did not utter his thoughts in words, but 
glanced at Lady Lawler. 

Sir Richard understood the look, and with 
a flood of scandal seeming to come tearing 
towards him, he turned and carried his wife to 
the landing. 

"Get a cab," he cried, hoarsely, "quick as 
lightning. I'll bring her slowly down the while." 
The officer darted across the room to Riviere, 
who leaned against the wall smoking calmly, 
and with a cynical aspect of enjoyment watching 
the proceedings. 

He then whispered a word or two to the 
Frenchman, but he did not reply more than by 
a half contemptuous glance. Then the man ran 
down, and as quickly as possible returned with 
a cab, into which Lady Lawler, now recovered 



TJiat Little Frenchman. 83 

sufficiently to walk, was placed — a mob of 
bonnctless women and children crowding round 
the entrance to see what was going on. Then 
the officer mounted the box, and, raging and 
humbled, touched to the very heart, Sir Richard 
leaned back, fuming and fretting, but refraining 
from speaking to his wife, as the cab threaded 
the narrow streets and made for those of better 
repute, in one of which Sir Richard alighted, 
gave his arm to the companion of his sufferings, 
nodded shortly to the officer, who had already 
received his instructions, and walked slowly 
away. 



6—2 




CHAPTER IX. 

jane's exodus. 
IR RICHARD was not long before he 
reminded his lady of his feelings to- 
wards the nurse; and the very next 
day it was the common talk through the 
house that her ladyship had acted very hand- 
somely to Jane, giving her wages and board- 
wages, and, as the cook observed, more than 
she deserved in a handsome present of 
clothes. 

"And I suppose you'll be married then, Jane, 
and give up service ?" said one of the maids, as 
Jane sat sobbing upon one of her boxes on the 



That Little Frenchman. 85 

morning of departure, dressed, and waiting, as 
she expressed it, " to be fetched." 
"Yes, I s'pose so," said Jane. 
"Ah, and I hope you'll never repent of it. 
What did they say about the poor little boy.''" 
"Nothing. Don't ask me," sobbed the girl. 
"I'm a wicked wretch. Oh, what shall I do.? 
Why did I ever leave the poor little thing V 

"There, there! — don't take on so," said one 
or two of the maids, administering comfort after 
their wont ; and by the time that Jane's tears 
were dried, Abram Higgs made his appearance 
to fetch her boxes. 

"There, for goodness' sake wipe your eyes, 
Jane," said the cook, " or you'll be such a figure 
as never was. You'll drive him quite away. 
Come and sit on a chair. Why, any one would 
think as you'd got something in that box as 
you didn't wish no one to see." 



S6 That Little Frenchman. 

"What!" exclaimed Jane, sharply, and 
changing colour, "in this box ?" 

"Yes, in that box?" 

Jane did not answer, but after a brief 
greeting with Abram Higgs, she whispered a 
few words, with the result that he shouldered 
the box upon which Jane had been seated, and 
bore it off at once, afterwards fetching two more 
appertaining to his lady. 

"Humph !" ejaculated the cook, "I don't want 
to be queer; but if Jane hasn't got something 
she's no business to have, it's strange to me. I 
should not like to say so, but if that box 
oughtn't to be searched, I don't know what 
service is." 

The housemaid, to whom this was whispered, 
acquiesced, and then felt very uncomfortable 
in her own mind respecting a lace handkerchief 
which she had found under one of the drawing- 



TJiat Little Frenchman. 8/ 



room chairs on the morning after an evening 
party, and began to consider whether, on the 
whole, it would not be better to make the said 
scrap of cambric and lace a present to some one 
before it was claimed. 

Jane's other box was now watched jealously 
till it disappeared on its way to the cab in which 
the maid was to depart; but no word was said, 
and every one followed her to the door in the 
most cordial manner. 

"You'll both come and see us, Mr. Higgs, 
when you get settled," said Mr. Sellars, the 
butler, who had treated Abram to a glass of 
port wine upon this occasion. 

" Oh, yes, sir, we'll come — sometimes," said 
Abram, whom all the port wine in the world 
would not have roused from his sombre 
mood. 

It was evident, the butler said facetiously, that 



88 That Little Frenchman. 

Mr. Higgs was looking at the serious side of 
matrimony, and did not much Hke putting his 
head into the noose; which he, of course, stoutly 
denied, and then looked more gloomy than 
ever. 

Lady Lawler had been much averse to parting 
with Jane, and in her leaving she seemed to be 
cutting off a connection with the lost little one 
that was pleasurable as well as painful; but Sir 
Richard insisted, and in this case his word was 
law, and Jane went. 

" But you will not let me lose sight of you, 
Jane," said her ladyship at parting. " I am ter- 
ribly angry with you still; but I should like to 
see you again." 

" I'll be sure and come sometimes, my lady," 
sobbed Jane; and then she descended to the 
lower regions, took her departure with Abram 
Higgs, to stay with a sister of his for the time 



That Little Frejichman. 89 

necessary in putting up banns; after which, 
without the slightest inclination for saying "No" 
again, she was taken to a neighbouring church, 
and became Mrs. Higgs. 





CHAPTER X. 

BAFFLED. 
ANE had not left Grosvenor- square, 
though, without notice. Sir Richard 
had given instructions, upon receiving 
the policeman's suggestion, and the latter gentle- 
man had intended to find out Jane's pursuits for 
a little time to come, had not an incident oc- 
curred which put a stop to his inquisitorial 
proceedings. A murder was perpetrated, and it 
was suddenly placed 'm[ the officer's hands to 
trace the culprit, which he did, and attempted to 
take him, but was so barbarously treated that, 
what with a fractured skull, and contusions 



That Little Fre7ichman. 91 

enough to have killed most men, the officer 
spent two months in hospital, and four more at 
the seaside, before he was able to return to his 
duty; and then his recollections of Jane, now 
Mrs. Higgs, were slightly misty. 

There was that about the case, though, that 
had interested him; and, as soon as he re- 
turned to his duties, he commenced with 
taking up the Lawler affairs, as something 
light and cheerful to get his hand in once 
more. 

His first step was to trace Riviere. He had 
left his lodgings, and gone none knew where. 
Inquiry at the theatre afforded him the informa- 
tion that, five months before, it was closed for a 
whole quarter, and Riviere had not been back 
since. That was all he could find out in that 
direction, except that the big drum thought he 
had heard the bassoon say as Riviere was going 



92 That Little Frenchmmi. 

home to France, but wasn't sure, as he didn't say 
it was Delamaine, the hautboy player, that was 
going. 

His further inquiries also failed in being effi- 
cacious. Higgs, the stage carpenter, was thrown 
out when the Soho closed; and the informant 
wasn't sure as he didn't get on at Hashley's, or 
else it was the Surrey, or it might have been the 
Vict^r^. But, no; stop a minute — he recollected 
now: it was at the Heagle. 

The officer's efforts, though, at every theatre 
he went to, were fruitless, and as unlucky as his 
visits to the place where Higgs and his young 
wife had lodged. 

" You see," said the lady there, **we have so 
many lodgers coming and going, mister, that, so 
long as they pays their rent, we hardly so much 
as know their names. Thayatrical people ours 
is, as sees a deal of change ; but I think as the 



That Little Frenchman. 93 

parties you mean sold theirselves up, and took 
a hengagement in the country." 

Either the officer had found this case a maze, 
full of stoppages, or else his illness had blinded 
his perceptions, for he made no further progress; 
while a visit to Grosvenor-square, to find the 
shutters up and the family gone on the Conti- 
nent, completed his disgust. 

"Why, I see how it is," he said. "While I've 
been ill, they've heard of Riviere going abroad, 
and they've gone over the Channel to try and 
follow him up." 

A little more investigation made him perfectly 
satisfied that his ideas were correct; for he in- 
sinuated himself into the good graces of Mr. 
Sellars, the butler, who was too stout and im- 
portant a piece of furniture to be removed every 
time the family went out of town, and from him 
he obtained the flattering information that Sir 



94 That Little Frenchman. 

Richard was thoroughly disgusted with the 
pohce, who ought to have found the child at 
once. 

''Of course," said the officer. "Why, sir, 
millstones and brick walls ought to be nothing 
to us; and as to to-morrow, why we ought to 
see right through it, and into the middle of next 
week, right away." 

"Well, I won't say but what Sir Richard is a 
bit harbitrary," said Mr. Sellars, shaking his im- 
portant head — " I may say very harbitrary — 
when he sets his mind on a thing." 

"Of course, he's gone on finding out things 
himself, quite fast.?" 

"Well, no; I don't know as he has, sir," said 
the butler. 

"The Frenchman been here much since.'*" 
asked the officer. 

"Not once. I did hear Sir Richard say, when 



That L ittle Frenchman. 95 

he thought I didn't hear him, as that furren 
party was gone abroad again. Curious taste for 
people like ours to know 'em at all; but there, 
sir, it was her ladyship who was always strong 
on what one of our servants — a very sarcastic 
young fellow — calls the horgin-grinding ele- 
ment." 

"Ah, indeed!" said the officer, persuasively, 
by way of oil to the butler's tongue, which was 
now, under the influence of a glass of wine, run- 
ning pretty swiftly. 

"Yes, sir — foreign artists, with long hair; and 
Italian chaps, as had never had nothing better 
to do than play the piano, just as if they wern't 
womanish enough before. Her ladyship was 
in her glory when she's got a lot of that sort 
about her, making Sir Richard as mad as mad. 
And nice things have come after it, haven't 
they? Why, really, sir, I've seen that little 



96 That Little Frenchman. 

Frenchman, Riviere, come here that shabby, 
that if he'd been my own brother I wouldn't 
have know'd him." 

"Ah! I s'pose not," said the officer; "and 
about the nurse; how is she now? — flourish- 
ing?" 

"Well, I don't know about that. It strikes 
me she's found out the difference between being 
a pore man's wife and having her legs under a 
good table, and has got that shabby that she's 
been ashamed to call. It was a understood 
thing as we should be very glad to see her; but 
she's never showed herself since. I'm sorry, 
too ; for Jane was a gal as had good pynts 
about her." 

" Been afraid, perhaps, about the child ; and 
glad to get off so easy." 

''Very likely, sir — very likely. It's that, I 
dare say, as keeps her away." 



That Little Frenchman. 97 



" And she's never once turned up, then, hasn't 
she?" 

" Not once, sir; but there, she was Hke the 
rest of 'em — in such a tremendous hurry to 
get married. You know what women are, 
sir." 

"Yes, yes," said the officer; "but there, poor 
things, I don't think they can help it. It is not 
in woman to have your quiet thoughtfulness 
and ways of looking ever so far ahead. I'll be 
bound to say, sir, as you haven't forgotten that 
there's such things as rainy days come into 
people's lives. You've got a good strong 
coloured silk umbrella ready to put up, I'll 
bet, when that time comes, eh.?" 

"Really, sir, I — " murmured the butler, smiling 
unctuously. 

"Thought as much, sir — thought as much," 
said the officer. "A yaller one, eh.? Nice 

VOL. III. 7 



gS That Little F^-enchman. 



colour, aint it? Now what do you go in for — 
shares, stock, or house prop.? The last, eh?" 

The butler nodded. 

" Right, sir, right ; so do I. You have cut 
all your teeth, that's plain enough. Depend 
upon it, there's nothing like house prop., except 
land ; and the worst of that is that it pays such 
poor interest for your money. But here, this 
won't do, I must be stirring. That's my card. 
And if you come my way any Sunday after- 
noon, I shall be very glad. There's always a 
pipe of tobacco and a drop of Hollands in the 
cupboard. Of course, a man like me can't come 
a glass of port like this. Drop in some day, 
when you have any news ; for I shall always 
be interested to know anything more about 
matters." 

Mr. Sellars promised ; but they did not part 
until, in the most friendly way, his visitor had 



That Little Frenc/wimi. 99 

related his adventure with the murderer, which 
was listened to with the greatest of attention, the 
officer meanwhile warming up with the interest 
his narrative excited, even going so far as to 
act portions of the most exciting parts, and 
ending by allowing the butler to place his finger 
upon the cracked portion of his head — a piece 
of condescension and favour which won Mr. 
Sellars to him for good, and furnished that 
worthy with a fund of Old Bailey anecdote that 
served to thrill his hearers for months to 
come. 

But other business took up this visitor's time 
as he grew better in health ; and though he 
sometimes wondered to find that the little 
family romance, as he termed it, should have 
come to so strange an end, without any elucida- 
tion of the mystery, he declared to himself that 
he could not continue the search without a 

7—2 



100 That Little Frenchman. 

pretty good certainty of reward. In other 
words, he felt obliged to own that the very sim- 
plicity of the case baffled him ; and there it 
remained at rest. 





CHAPTER XL 

"POUR LA PATRIE." 
T is not right ; it is not fair," said 
Monsieur Hippolyte. "I do not fear 
for my life in a good cause. I will 
go and hurl a shell when the time comes. I 
will take my turn to crush that execrable spy 
Riviere — bah, I spit upon his name! I will suffer 
imprisonment; but I will not sit and see these 
foolish risks run for nothing. Doctor, you are 
mad! Why, even Lemaire there has turned 
pale, and shivers." 

" Lemaire is like you — a coward at heart," 
said D'Aulnay, who had just calmly struck a 



I02 That Little Fraiclunan. 

match and lit a cigar, which he puffed at 
regularly, sending great rings of smoke into the 
room. "There! I told you so. See how he 
is a coward! He fears to be thought one, and 
shows his hand." 

Lemaire turned a contemptuous glance on 
the two men as he struck match after match 
with an assumption of carelessness that sat ill 
upon his white, damp face. 

"Yes, I told you so," said D'Aulnay, taunt- 
ingly. *'That is well. Throw the lighted 
powder on the floor, and it will be easy to blow 
us all up." 

He burst into a merry laugh, as he saw 
Lemaire turn even paler than before, and stoop 
and snatch up, with trembling hand, an incan- 
descent piece of a lucifer match, placing it 
carefully in the fireplace. 

The laugh seemed to madden Lemaire, who 



That Liltle hrcnclunaiL lv03 

snatched at the box, tore out a dozen matches, 
and was about to strike them, out of mere 
savage bravado, when a sharp cHck arrested 
him, and he sank back into his chair, staring 
hard at his tormentor, who had covered him with 
the bright blue barrel of a tiny pistol, all the 
while sitting calmly smoking; his white teeth 
glistening from the midst of his black beard, as 
he watched the play of Lemaire's features. 

" I have worked too hard, Monsieur Lemaire, 
my dear friend, to wish to be blown up by my 
own petard — by my own poudre d'enfer, of 
which I have a goodly stock close at hand. 
There is a method in my madness, as that 
same writer amongst these barbarians has also 
said. When I use fire here, I do it at discre- 
tion, and friend Hippolyte here need not feel 
alarm. He is honest, and says he has fear ; but 
you — you arc not honest. Sit still, or I may be 



1 04 That L ittle Frenchman. 

tempted to draw the trigger. You, I say, are 
not honest ; for you are horribly afraid, and 
still profess bravery. But you arc a mean cur, 
Lemaire, You would betray us all did you 
dare." 

Lemaire made as though he would start from 
his chair. 

** Sit still, fool, or I will fire," said D'Aulnay, 
calmly, without so much as moving a muscle, 
merely keeping the tiny pistol in a direct un- 
swerving line with Lemaire's face, till the dew 
upon his ashy forehead grew heavier, and drop 
mingled with drop, till by degrees they began 
to trickle down his face. 

"Yes, you are a mean, contemptible coward." 
continued D'Aulnay. "Patriot ! mon Dieu, there 
was never a man who was less a lover of his 
country. You join us. Yes ; but for your own 
ends. You have a chance oi being revenged 



TJiat Little Fi^enclunan. 10^ 

upon Riviere. Of course, for your country ? 
Bah ! for your own ends ; that you may per- 
secute his wife, hunt her, follow her — till she 
proves too much for you, and eludes you. Great 
patriot ! Good citizen ! You aid our plans, 
too, about Riviere. He is a spy, eh V 

"Yes, a cowardly, cruel spy," exclaimed Le- 
maire, furiously. 

" Liar," replied D'Aulnay, quietly. " Liar ! 
You told us he was. You urged us to encom- 
pass his death, because he was a spy ; and we 
believed in you then, and let ourselves be 
cajoled. Sit still, do you hear ?" 

Lemaire had turned in his seat, as if to spring 
up, writhing at his tormentor's words ; but now 
he shrank back shivering, and paler than ever. 

"Yes, liar!" continued D'Aulnay, evidently 
delighting in his vivisection of the man before 
him. "And we dogged and persecuted that 



io6 That Little FrencJunan. 

Riviere nearly to his death. Poor devil ! But I 
am thankful that Hippolyte's arm failed him 
twice. Not that I mind a few lives if they stand 
in our way at some critical time — if there is 
something to be gained for our cause; but this 
poor fellow, fate-hunted, I am glad was too much 
for us. He lives yet, Lemaire, for your sake. 
Ha! ha! ha!" he laughed, softly. "There will 
be a meeting between you some day, Lemaire; 
and he will take you by the throat, and ask you 
what you have done with his wife. I should like 
to be a looker-on. 

"Bah! this is a long speech, mon ami, Le- 
maire ; but I must tell you how I find that you 
have made a tool of us. Those imbeciles — those 
aristocrats, too, in that square ! You led us on, 
too, there, with your tale . of the visits to Paris. 
Yes, you led us on, and we must have been very 
weak to believe ; but, you see, we arc all weak 



That Little Frenchman. 107 



at times. But it is enough, Lemaire ; we know 
you for the future. And you, what will you do 
now } Go and tell to the police that we have a 
plot on hand; that in a short time we shall get 
passports, and cross with our shells, to explode 
them in the path of the tyrant who tramples 
down our country .'' Eh, you will do this — is it 
not so ?" 

Monsieur Hippolyte shrugged his shoulders, 
but Lemaire merely sat on, pale and glaring. 

"That is what you would like to do, eh, mon 
ami, Lemaire .'* Yes, that it is ; and you would 
do it at once, only that you dare not — dare not 
— dare not ! 

"Let me see — let me tell you," continued 
D'Aulnay, after a pause — "let me tell you what 
you know: that there are thousands joined to 
our cause, and to a man they would set them- 
selves to find you and make you their mark — 



to8 That Little Frenchman, 



eh, Monsieur Lemaire ? You did not know our 
strength until you joined our force. 

"Now," he continued, "get up. See, I put 
away the pistolet. I need not use it, for you 
will play us no more tricks." 

He quietly uncocked the pistol, and placed it 
in a small pocket in the breast of his coat, and 
leaned back in his chair, with his eyes half closed, 
watching Lemaire, who turned impatiently in his 
seat from time to time, to sit at last gnawing his 
nails, at which he bit viciously, glancing furtively 
from one to the other, till there was a step heard 
upon the stairs, then a knock, and a letter was 
thrust through the opening beneath the door, 

"News," said D'Aulnay, with glittering eyes. 
" Gooxi or bad t Let us see." 

He crossed the room and took up the letter, 
opened it eagerly, and then exclaimed — 

"News, gentlemen; great news! Immediate 



That Little Frerichnian. 109 

action. Mon DIeu ! this is indeed great ! Now, 
Monsieur Lemaire, we shall require your services, 
and directly. You have expressed your willing- 
ness before; now you shall act. Do you hear .-^ " 

"Hear? Yes, as plainly as I heard your in- 
sults," snarled the man addressed. "What am 
I to do.?" 

♦'To do !" exclaimed D'Aulnay. "That which 
you have so often professed your readiness for — 
Mourir pour la patrie !" 




CHAPTER XII. 

IN THE TUILERIES. 




IR RICHARD 
and Lady Lawler 
felt specially at- 
tracted just now 
to Paris. They 
were haunted by 
a feeUng that the 
^-^ -4 ^ \\^t^ elucidation of the 

mystery of their loss must come from there. 

By careful inquiry, Sir Richard had at last come 



That Little Frenchman. 1 1 1 

to the conclusion that Riviere had returned to 
his own country; therefore, he determined to 
follow him, and for month after month they led 
an uneventful existence in one of the Palais 
Royale hotels. 

"Qu'ils sont tristes, ces Anglais," the Parisians 
used to say of them with the customary shrug, 
for the Lawlers seemed to lead an aimless exist- 
ence. When they first took up their abode in 
Paris, Monsieur Landelles, their landlord, would 
morning after morning ascend with smiles to 
their suite of rooms, bearing newspapers and 
programmes of entertainments, guide books to 
particular buildings; but they were always re- 
ceived in so chilling a way that the good man 
shrugged his shoulders to his ears, went down- 
stairs the image of despair, and communicated 
to his fat, frizzly-haired, dark-eyebrowed spouse 
his certain assurances that the English milord 



112 That Little Frenchman. 

and the English miladi were suffering frightfully 
from the spleen, and had come over to Paris to 
be cured. 

"Poor infants!" he said, pathetically; "but 
they have lived amidst those winter fogs till 
they have no spirit left. We must watch them, 
Celestine, or they will — " 

Here he gave another significant shrug, and 
raised his hands to the level of his ears, bending 
them downward from the wrists. 

"Then they must have no charcoal," said 
Celestine, decisively. 

"Bah! charcoal! These islanders with the 
spleen never do that, my child. They are not 
refined: they do hang themselves behind the 
door. My faith, they know no better. These 
must be watched." 

But as time passed on, and neither Sir Richard 
nor Lady Lawler was found suspended to a big 



That L ittle Frenchman. 113 

brass-headed nail or peg behind their bed-room 
door, Monsieur Landelles, proprietor of that 
grand hotel of Great Britain and beautiful 
France, gained more confidence in his regularly- 
paying English visitors; but he remained con- 
vinced that they were suffering terribly from the 
spleen. 

It was a strange life, that of the Lawlers, 
passed for the most part in the streets, not riding 
save in returning from a long excursion, when a 
fiacre would be called, and they returned to 
their hotel. Their habit was, breakfast ended, 
to start off directly after reading and reply- 
ing to their letters, and walk from street to 
street. 

"We shall find him sooner or later," Lady 
Lawler had said, alluding to Riviere, "and some 
day he will relent and forgive us." 

They had placed themselves in communication 

VOL. III. 8 



1 1 4 That L ittle Frenchman. 

with the police, but there had been no result. 
The man described could not have returned to 
Paris: the passport system was too perfect to 
have been eluded. 

This declaration only made Sir Richard 
Lawler more stubborn in his own impressions. 
The very fact of the police declaring this seemed 
to prove to him, he knew not why, that Riviere 
was in Paris, and with his child. 

So they stayed on month after month, each 
day making an excursion into one of the less- 
known quarters, but always without success. 

At length, one sunny afternoon, they strolled 
into the Tuileries Gardens in a listless fashion, 
to turn though, as soon as possible, into one of 
the more secluded parts ; for the sight of the 
merry groups of children in charge of the 
neat, white-capped bonnes sent a pang of agony 
through Lady Lawler, the spasm contracting 



That L ittle Frenchman. 115 

her face ; and she turned her sad, wistful eyes 
upon her husband, 

"Oh, Dick!" she whispered^ "pray come 
away. It seems so hard, " 

He led her gently away, looking down the 
while upon her worn features ; and, as he 
pressed her arm more closely to his side, he felt 
how, in spite of the restless whirl of fashionable 
life, the mother's heart had been there ; and in 
the midst of his grief he felt almost thankful for 
the burden placed upon their shoulders, since it 
had drawn them closer together than they had 
ever been before. 

" It will be our turn some day, Addy," he 
whispered. " Our boy is alive, I am sure ; and 
after all our misunderstandings with him, 
Riviere is a gentleman, and I cannot believe but 
that he will repent of all this, and bring the 
little fellow back some dav." 

8—2 



1 1 6 That L it tie FrencJmtan. 

People do not believe in coincidences in 
stories. Things happen a little out of the com- 
mon line, and they say such a meeting would be 
impossible. Softly : turn back a few pages of 
your own humdrum life, and see how strangely 
things have come to pass, perhaps with long in- 
tervals between, but still with what a fatality! 
Recollect how you encountered A. in the very 
place where you had gone to avoid him. Recall 
how you picked out a day when B. was sure not 
to call, for having C. to see you, and did not B. 
come, to your everlasting confusion } In child- 
hood, did not your fellows search first the very 
place that you considered most secure t But 
enough, coincidences are very common ; and it 
was nothing so very out of the way, after all, for 
Lady Lawler, as she turned down an alley of 
the Gardens, to press her husband's arm sud- 
denly, and exclaim aloud — 



That Little Frenchman. 1 1/ 

" Oh ! look, Richard, he is— " 

She said no more, poor woman ; for the gay- 
scene, the scrubby orange trees in their tubs, the 
soldiers in their uniforms, all seemed to swim 
round and round her ; while the band, which 
just then struck up, seemed to blare out in a 
triumphant shriek of derision as she fought for 
a moment to recover herself, and then sank 
slowly on to the gravel path. 

Polite France formed a ring immediately, and 
an officer helped her husband to place madame 
upon a seat, while an exquisite hurried to a 
fountain for water, 

Madame was slightly overcome. Let her try 
this — this — this — this. 

It was a pleasure to be poorly in the garden 
of the Tuileries — Paris was so attentive and 
polite : vinaigrettes, scent-bottles, salts in any 
quantity, were at hand, but they were needless. 



1 18 TJiat Little Frenchman. 

This was no fashionable fainting fit. The sur- 
prise had been too sudden for the mother ; but 
there was so much attached to the encounter 
that nature rapidly reasserted itself, and Lady 
Lawler's eyes slowly unclosed, first to look in a 
dazed, sleepy way in those of her husband as he 
bent over her, supporting her head upon his 
arm ; then the light of intelligence came into 
them, and a wild look of inquiry flashed from 
them as her face worked, and she exclaimed 
passionately, heedless of the crowd around — 
" Dick ! Dick ! why are you here ?" 
" Hush," he said, soothingly. " Tell me what 
alarmed you V 

"What! did you not see.^" she exclaimed. 
"Oh, run quick! There, there!" she cried, 
pointing wildly in the direction of the band, 
which brayed away at a short distance. " I saw 
him — with his wife — going by that orange tree. 



TJiat Little Frenchman. 119 

Oh, Richard ! Richard ! for God's sake, run. I 
saw Riviere ! " 

" But madame should be taken home," mur- 
mured the condoling bystanders. " It is a 
hysterical attack." 

" Spleen ! " whispered one elaborately dressed 
individual to another — in fact, Monsieur Lan- 
delles, of the Hotel of Great Britain and beau- 
tiful France. " They are mad with the spleen," 
he whispered to his neighbour. " Did you ever 
see!" — as, thunderstruck by the intelligence, Sir 
Richard Lawler paused for a moment, and then, 
seeing that his wife could sit up alone, darted off 
down the alley in the pointed-out direqtion ; 
while, seeing nothing but her husband's retiring 
form. Lady Lawler sat there heedless of the 
crowd, her hands pressed together in her lap, 
her handsome brow knit, and her eyes fixed and 
intense in their agony of suspense. 



I20 T J lat Little Frenchman. 

" Permit me, messieurs and mesdames," said 
a suave voice. " I know the lady. She is 
ill." 

The speaker pressed through the whispering 
knot of people, and raised his hat to the stricken 
woman. 

"Shall I see miladi to a fiacre.?" he said 
politely. 

"Oh! no, no, Monsieur Landelles," exclaimed 
Lady Lawler, recognising their host. " Only 
please, please ask these people to go away. I 
must wait till Sir Richard comes back. Tell 
them I am in trouble." 

Monsieur Landelles raised his hat to the sur- 
rounding group, which had partly heard her 
speech, and then repeated her wishes. 

It was enough. There was a raising of hats, 
graceful bows from many a too highly dressed 
woman, but a polished and immediate delicacy 



TJiat Little Frenchman. 121 

of action. In half a minute, the landlord and 
Lady Lawler were alone. 

But not for long. Sir Richard came up hot 
and flushed, looked half angrily for a moment 
at the highly got-up stranger, but recognised 
him directly. 

"Oh — you, Landelles! Get us a cab directly." 

Monsieur Landelles went off on the tips of 
his patent leather boots, as delicately as did a 
certain King Agag that we read of; and as soon 
as he was out of hearing. Sir Richard turned to 
his wife. 

''Well.-*" she cried, holding one of his hands 
tightly in hers. 

" It was a mistake," he said, as excitedly. 
"There was not a glimpse of him to be seen. 
You must have been deceived." 

" No, no," said Lady Lawler, wearily, as she 
closed her eyes, and sank back in her seat. •' I 



122 



That L ittle Frenchmaii, " 



saw him quite plainly, and he saw me, and gave 
me a malevolent look that made me shudder. 
Oh, Richard, he has our darling, and you must 
find him out," 





CHAPTER XIII. 

FOUND. 

ACK at the hotel, Lady Lawler, in spite 

of her husband's doubts, was as certain 

as ever she had seen Riviere quite 

plainly, and Madame Riviere was by his side. 

The recognition had been mutual. 

" It was my foolish weakness spoilt it all, 
Richard," she sobbed; "but we shall see him 
again, of that I am sure. Let us go now." 

This Sir Richard refused, and he sat thinking 
for a time. Should he again communicate with 
the police.'* 

No, that would not do : Riviere was a pro- 



124 That Little Frenchman. 



scribed man, and his presence, if he were really 
here, must be at the risk of his being arrested. 
He must be setting the law at defiance. If he 
set the police upon his track he would alarm 
him, and drive him away. That would not do ; 
he must trace him — apologize — beg pardon — do 
anything to disarm his resentment, so that he 
might bring them back their boy. 

" He will give him up to me now," Sir 
Richard reasoned. " I am quite willing to 
make any concession he may ask — only let us 
meet." 

That was a difficult task, that finding a chance 
of meeting; for Lady Lawler was right — Riviere 
was really in Paris, and they had encountered 
him in the Tuileries Gardens. He had returned 
at last, reckless and despairing. Life had become 
to him almost a burden. To exist, he had joined 
the orchestra of the little theatre in Soho; but 



That Little Frenchmmt. 125 

changes soon took place there, and he had played 
about the country, first at one and then another 
small provincial theatre. At times he had re- 
turned to London, inquiring at his old lodgings; 
but "No" was ever the response. No news of 
Marie; and then he had returned Hstlessly to his 
task, wandering about till the fancy took him to 
go back to Paris, which he had done in utter 
defiance of the laws — to find a surprise, though 
at first no welcome. 

He had been wandering listlessly about through 
the streets, not disguised, for there had seemed 
to him no necessity. If he were taken, well and 
good; they might take him — end his life if they 
liked; it was worthless. But disguise was un- 
necessary; nature had done for him all that was 
requisite. He had so aged — so altered, that his 
nearest intimates would hardly have recognized 
in the worn, bent man the active little French- 



126 That Little Frenchman. 

man who was once so busy with his experiments 
in mechanics. 

Riviere was sinking lower and lower. At first, 
on reaching Paris, he had wandered the streets 
by night only, for dread of the police; but as 
familiarity bred contempt, and he began to realize 
the fact that he and his case had been forgotten 
—buried beneath scores, hundreds of more im- 
portant offences — he grew bolder, and began to 
wander almost aimlessly about. His first visits 
had been to the places that he had once made 
his home, but here he learned nothing. Fresh 
faces met him, and a shrug of the shoulders and 
a shake of the head formed his response. 

But when the gloom is thickest it begins to 
lighten, and so Riviere found. He was saunter- 
ing listlessly along the Boulevards one day, 
turning a wisp of a cigarette between his lips, 
his head bent and his hands deep down in his 



That L title Frenchman , 127 

pockets, when suddenly a sound, somewhat like 
a faint gasp or a catching of the breath, made 
him raise his eyes, to see the back of a woman 
apparently carrying a child. She seemed to 
have turned sharply, and was making for a side 
street, head bent, and evidently seeking to avoid 
recognition. 

Riviere's whole being changed in an instant — 
from listlessness, he seemed to be animated with 
a wild excitement ; and he sprang after the 
retreating figure, gained upon it rapidly, and 
exclaimed in a hoarse, smothered voice— 

"Marie! Marie! it is thou?" 

There was no answer by word of mouth; he 
only saw, as it were, a shiver pass through the 
fugitive's frame. The head was bent lower, and 
a veil drawn more closely over the face. 

It was a quiet, secluded street, and there were 
none to see Riviere as he pressed on after the 



128 That Little Frenchmaii. 

retiring figure — speaking again without eliciting 
a response, the woman seeming to flee from him 
as if in horror at his presence. 

At last she turned suddenly up an alley, 
which proved to be a deserted cut de sac; and 
here, after panting to the end, the fugitive was 
forced to turn and face her pursuer — pressing 
her child more closely to her breast, as Riviere 
saw her eyes flashing out at him defiantly 
through the thick veil. 

"Marie! and have I found you at last?" 

There was no answer : the woman pressed 
herself back from him against the farther wall, 
as if in dread that he should touch her, and his 
touch were contagion. 

" Marie," he whispered, hoarsely, " I have 
sought you long in misery and despair. But 
for the hope that we should one day meet, I 
should have lain down to die. I had nothing 



That L ittle Frenchman. 1 29 

but that to live for; and now you turn from me. 
I — mon Dieu ! I am faint again. I have not 
eaten — Marie — Marie — ah ! you fly from me 
— mon Dieu!" 

His voice had grown weaker as he spoke — his 
eyes were dim. He had, with extended hands, 
tried feebly to catch at the dress of her he 
followed, but she had eluded his grasp and fled; 
but as she heard that wild, hoarse cry, her foot- 
steps faltered, and she turned for a moment to 
see Riviere stagger, throw up his hands as if in 
appeal towards Heaven, and then fall with a 
dead, heavy, sickening violence upon the ill- 
paved way. 

That was enough : let him be sinner — traitor 
to her — the greatest scoundrel that had ever 
breathed, he was her husband, the father of her 
child, and her place was at his side. True, she 
had fled to free herself from the pursuit of a 

VOL. III. 9 



130 That Little Frenchman. 

villain, and because she believed that her 
husband had forsaken her. Perhaps he had 
been false; but he was here, helpless and in 
distress, mutely appealing to her for aid. What 
could she do.-* 

Behave as would a true woman under the 
circumstances ; and the next moment she was 
upon her knees by his side, holding his bruised 
head upon her arm. 





CHAPTER XIV. 

NEW LIFE. 
|IME. Is there such a fact, state, prin- 
ciple as time when a man is sick almost 
unto death; when he lies prone, help- 
less, insensible to everything but hot, burning 
pains, a fiery heated sky above his head, and a 
molten sea of metal below; scorched, scorched, 
ever scorched ; tongue dry and cleaving, throat 
harsh, and furred as if with sand ; and a per- 
vpding sense always troubling him of going 
forward — ever going forward to reach some 
unattainable goal — to do some impossible thing 
— a something which he knows he cannot do, but 

9—2 



132 That L title French man. 

which he must strive, strive at always, strive at 
even unto death? 

Fever of the brain, with that burning head 
tossing restlessly from side to side; eyes open 
and fixed on vacancy ; and the lips ever busy, 
muttering restlessly some incoherent words ; 
seeing no one, knowing no one. This was 
Riviere's state for a space, and then he seemed 
to awake one morning, feeling cool, and fresh, 
and restful. There were white hangings to his 
bed; there was an open window, with flowers 
right in front; the sun was shining from a pure 
blue sky ; and a bird, hanging by the window, 
leaped restlessly from perch to perch, and 
twittered, and again and again ruffled up the 
feathers of its throat, erected its crest, and burst 
forth with such a liquid trill of melody that the 
tears softly rose to the sick man's eyes, and 
overflowed upon his cheeks. Tears of saddened 



That L ittlc Frenchman, 1 3 3 

pleasure were they, not pain ; and a faint sigh of 
rehef came from his breast as he lay, and lay, 
and listened. 

How calm and peaceful it all seemed — high 
up evidently, for he could see housetops from 
where he lay. 

Where was he.-^ 

It did not matter. 

Why was he here? 

Let it rest. 

What had come before all this.^ 

Bah! what import? Suffice it he lived and 
breathed, and every breath was a pleasure — a 
sense of bliss. Let things go — they would right 
themselves in time. 

So he lay on, thinking dreamily, half sleeping, 
half waking, hour after hour, till it seemed to 
him there was a sound in the room, something 
besides the twittering of the bird and the faint 



134 That Little Frenchman, 

roar that ascended from the streets. Yes, there 
was a faint clicking noise — regular, almost, as 
the ticking of a clock. What could it be.^ It 
was a sound he knew so well, and yet it was a 
trouble to him to try and think it out. It must 
come. 

Click — click — click — click. 

Yes, there it was, so strangely regular. What 
could it be.^ 

It did not trouble him, but rather seemed to 
amuse and divert his attention, till it was at- 
tracted by the movements of the flies above his 
head — darting to and fro, seeming to make dia- 
mond patterns as they intersected and crossed 
each other's flight in the air. There was one big, 
bold fly that had a liking for one particular spot 
on the bed hangings, from which place he would 
dart, hawk-like, among his fellows with a shrill 
buzz of anger, scattering them here and there 



That L ittle Frenchman. 135 



before careering in sharp darts across and across 
the bed, and then returning to his post. 

Those flies were quite a pleasurable rest for 
him, and he watched them hours, perhaps days, 
always till his eyes closed in a heavy, restful 
sleep. 

Still the same calm silence — the sunshine — 
the soft, fresh air — the twittering bird — and the 
soft, subdued click, click, click, at such regular 
intervals. 

Was it yesterday or to-day that he heard it 
last .'* He could not tell ; he could not think — 
only that it was some time or another, and it did 
not matter. 

There was the click, click — 

Of course, he knew the sound now. How 
childish not to remember ! 

So he thought, not feeling how his brain was 
really going once more through all the changes 



136 That Little Frenchman. 

from infancy to manhood — and slowly, too, for 
it was like recommencing life. 

Yes, he knew the sound well enough — it was 
that of a needle upon a worker's thimble. 
Somebody must be sewing there behind the cur- 
tain, that he could not lift a hand to press aside. 

He lay pondering with childish pleasure upon 
his discovery, a weak smile illumining his lips. 
But soon his face grew serious once more, for a 
fresh sound caught his attention — a peculiar 
little cooing noise that sent a shock through 
him. It was unmistakable, and his heart gave 
a throb of pleasure, he knew not why ; and then 
his eyes turned to the right, for there was a 
faint rustling sound, the curtain was gently 
pressed back, and a thin, pale face bent over 
him, but so changed from that of the Marie he 
had once known ! 

She did not speak, only looked inquiringly at 



That L ittle Frenchman . 137 

him — inquiringly laid a cool, soft hand upon his 
forehead, then drew back, and the curtain fell 
between them. 

It was only for a few moments, though ; soon 
she was back with a cup of some cooling drink, 
and Riviere felt his head softly lifted, and the 
cup held to his lips that he might taste. 

Then his pillow was turned, his head laid 
gently down, and the face watched his quietly 
and earnestly, as if seeking for a sign. 

A piteous cloud gathered over Riviere's wan 
features as he gazed up in that quiet, stern face. 
It was so impassive, so still. There seemed to 
be interest in the countenance, certainly ; but 
only that which a nurse might feel for a patient. 

And this was his wife ! — the woman he had 
sought for in sorrow and in bitterness ! But 
how came he there .-* 

He was too weary to think of it then, and it 



138 That L ittle Frenchman. 

was evident that the troubled aspect of his face 
was deemed wrong by her who nursed ; for the 
soft, cool hand was gently laid upon his eyes, as 
if to press down the lids, and in a few minutes 
he was asleep — sleeping the heavy dreamless 
sleep of a child. 

Again he woke, hours or days after he could 
not tell, only that he was lying there, with the 
flies buzzing, the bird singing, and — yes, it was 
that — he listened, for there was the same click, 
click of the needle, and the cooing of a little 
child. 

He began to be impatient now for the curtain 
to be withdrawn, and it seemed long before 
Marie's face appeared. 

"You are better .-'" she said, again laying her 
hand upon his brow; and he responded in so 
faint a whisper that she had to bend to hear his 
reply. 



That Little Fre^ichman, 139 

But so still — so cold — he was chilled — 
frightened in his then weak state; and she, see- 
ing this, left him softly, bidding him sleep. 

Riviere never knew how the time went, only 
that he lay there dreamily passing away his 
hours; but, at each waking, feeling more ready 
to speak, while Marie grew more silent and 
stern. There was a gap between them, and soon 
Riviere felt bitterly that he had been brought 
there, as it were, from a charitable feeling of 
duty — ^wifely duty — owing to him ; and the es- 
trangement seemed to grow, until one day when, 
for the first time, he was sitting up, propped 
with pillows. 

The day was glorious : the soft air floated in 
through the open window, bearing the scent of 
the flowers, and the bird sang more joyously 
than ever ; while close by, Riviere could hear 
the soft cooing noise made by the child. 



140 That Little Frenchman. 

Marie had just laid straight the coverlid above 
her patient, cold and stern as ever. She was 
about to leave him, when his thin hand was laid 
upon hers, and his piteous eyes sought the gaze 
that was averted, 

" Marie," he said, in a voice a little above a 
whisper, "you are misjudging me." 

She started as if she had been stung. Her 
pale face became softened by a bright flush, and 
she turned upon him swiftly; but the light faded 
out from her eyes, her cheeks became cold and 
pale once more, and there was a look of bitter 
scorn on her countenance as she said, abruptly — 

"The doctor advised that you should be 
silent" 

"Yes, yes — I know," he answered; "but the 
little one, Marie — let me see our child." 

Again the bright flush came in spite of her, 
and their eyes met for an instant. 



That Little Frenchman. 141 



Then coldly, proudly, and without a word, 
Marie Riviere left the bedside, and returned in a 
few minutes with the little, fair, soft baby face 
nestling on her arm, she frowning the while. 
Another minute, and she had placed it in the 
father's arms. 

Riviere trembled exceedingly as his feeble 
hand was laid upon the soft hair, while the tiny 
life looked from the little blue eyes straight up 
into his, and the lips parted for it to babble in 
its baby language, while a smile played about 
the dimpled cheeks. 

" Poor little one ! " murmured Riviere, with 
the weak tears falling fast upon the smiling 
face ; while Marie, stern and outwardly com- 
posed, but with a fierce struggle going on within 
her breast, gazed intently, frowningly, from one 
to the other. 

"Poor little one!" said Riviere again, as he 



142 That Little Frenchman. 

stroked the soft cheeks, and the baby smiled 
again — "poor Httle one ! born in the midst of 
trouble, when thy mother was cursing thy 
father's name, believing him to be a scoundrel 
— a traitor — and that he had forsaken her for 
another!" 

Marie stood rigid and scornful still by the 
bedside, watching them, but the struggle was 
bitter still within her breast. 

"Ah, tiny flame of life, what a chance was 
thine to come when so fierce a storm was around 
— when thy father had been seized, and lay a 
prisoner in a gaol week after week, while she to 
whom he had never failed in truth, believed him 
false. God help us, little one, for we need him 
sore!" 

"Louis!" 

One word only, but what a bitter cry! How 
the woman's heart went forth to him she loved 



That Little Frenchman. 143 

in that one short utterance! The cold, stem 
look was gone, the face was working, and 
hysterical sobs were struggling for utterance, 
as Marie threw herself at the bedside, caught 
his hand in hers, and panted out — 

*' Louis ! — husband, tell me — I was de- 
ceived ! " 

His eyes told her as he turned them upon 
her, and the next moment she was weeping out 
her sorrow upon his breast, one thin arm clasp- 
ing her, while upon the other rested their child 
lying faintly cooing for awhile, but at last to 
sleep as the sun was tinging the sky before the 
window with a wondrous golden orange hue — a 
light which glorified that poor Parisian attic, 
where the mother, beating down her misery, had 
hidden herself from the world, stitching as a 
seamstress for her child, and afterwards to keep 
the husband whom she believed to have been a 



144 That Little Frenchman. 

liar to his vows; bringing him to her poor home, 
nursing him through a fever that had threatened 
death, but at last to find that she had falsely 
judged, and that he was true. 

" Let me sleep," whispered Riviere, softly. 
"Marie! — wife! I have been true." 

The golden orange paled into lambent yellow, 
the yellow into green shot with a wondrous 
purple, and then one deep dark blue was all 
o'erhead — a veil of darkness spangled with 
lustrous stars, which seemed to flash forth 
glorious rays into that room where, weak, feeble 
with his illness, the little Frenchman slept, with 
the little one lying on his breast, while Marie 
Riviere knelt praying by their side. 




CHAPTER XV. 

AN AT. ARM. 

"11: EDICAL skill avails 

: little when the heart 

; is low; but when 

joy lights her lamp, 

- cheering the spirit 

^ within, the heart 

bounds, and life runs 

— races — courses 

through the veins. Slow and sluggish had 

Riviere's recovery been before ; but now that 

all had been told, and man and wife were one, 

VOL. III. 10 




^Wi---: 



146 TJiat Little Fre7ichina7t. 



his progress towards convalescence was by 
bounds. 

In a week he was up, and in another he was 
leaning upon his wife's arm, slowly pacing the 
walks in the Tuileries Gardens. In another 
week he had reversed the action, and Marie 
rested upon his arm as he took the exercise that 
rapidly brought him back to health and 
strength. 

It was with no slight feeling of agitation that 
Riviere and his wife saw that they were recog- 
nised by Lady Lawler ; and though the latter 
imagined that he had regarded her with what 
she termed a baleful look, she was wrong, for it 
was more one of dread, seeing how the life of 
the French couple had been dashed with trouble 
in their intercourse with the English. 

" Be at rest, my child," Riviere had said to 
Marie, when, wild-eyed and haggard, she had 



That Little Frenchman. 147 

afterwards confronted him at home. " I have 
told you all, and you believe me ?" 

"Ah, yes, yes," she murmured, clinging to him. 
* "There shall be no more of it. We will cease 
going to the Gardens." 

They stopped their visits there ; and conse- 
quently, every search made through the alleys, 
morning, noon, and night, by Sir Richard Law- 
ler, proved futile. 

He was almost in despair ; still he per- 
severed, spending the whole of his time in the 
streets, but without success ; and at the end 
of a fortnight, coming into his rooms, sick, 
jaded, and worn, he exclaimed — 

" It is of no use — I must appeal to the police." 

A couple of hours after, when rest and re- 
freshment had somewhat restored him, he an- 
nounced his intention of trying once more. 

" Perseverance wins in the end, Addy," he 



1 4 8 That L title Frenchmmi . 

said. And so he found it, as far as its bringing 
him face to face with Riviere. 

It was about this time that the Frenchman 
and his wife were quietly walking along one of 
the narrow streets of the cite, when the former 
felt a sudden, sharp jerk at his arm, and turn- 
ing, saw that Marie was looking deadly pale, 
and staring fixedly in one direction. Turning 
his head, he became aware of the cause of her 
excitement, for only a few yards from them Le- 
maire was standing, talking earnestly to another 
man. perfectly unaware o( their proximity. 

The surprise was so great, that for a moment 
or two Riviere was paralyzed ; but he recovered 
directly. He drew Marie aside, and they 
passed down an adjacent street. 

" Don't be frightened, child," he said, quietly. 
" I am not going to embroil myself with him. 
I am now at peace with all the world." 



That Little PrencJiuian. 149 

He smiled as he spoke, and Marie was re- 
assured. 

"Time back," he said, "I should have placed 
other constructions upon his coming. Now I 
think I can safely say it has a political tendency. 
I learned a good deal about him over there in 
England, and I know that he is mixed up with 
the Red party. That man with the black beard 
was living close to us in Soho. What shall 
I do.?" 

''Oh, nothing — nothing!" exclaimed Marie. 
"Let us go away from here." 

" With what I know," continued Riviere, not 
appearing to heed her words, and speaking in a 
curious, thoughtful fashion — "with what I know, 
I could denounce them as plotters against the 
State, have them seized for assassins, as they 
are — buy safety for ourselves as a reward for my 
efforts. The sun would shine for us once more ; 



lliat Little FrenchiiiaiL 



and Heaven ! what a revenge it would be to 
mete out to him the same punishment that he 
meted to me ! No — no, not the same punish- 
ment, for mine was undeserved, and his he would 
have earned, scoundrel, villain that he is ! Did 
he not denounce me, an innocent man — have me 
torn away from my home ? And my punish- 
ment — Ah ! I cannot bear to think upon it — 
is is too much." 

" Then do not think. Oh, Louis !" 
" Hush, child," he exclaimed. "Listen to me. 
Think what a triumph it would be to rid our- 
selves of him, and be avenged all at one blow! 
Heaven, but it would be sweet to see the villain 
— the cowardly, cruel villain — writhing in the 
arms of the law ! And besides, if I do not de- 
nounce him, he will set the dogs after me, and 
have me dragged away once more. Lemaire — 
Lemaire — your time seems to have come- De- 



TJiat L it tie FrcncJintaiL 1 5 1 

nunciation — assassination — you stopped at 
neither to remove me from your path ; and now 
fate has so willed it that my time has come — 
come in all its ripeness of maturity. Mon Dieu! 
I have been waiting for this, and now — " 
"You will not denounce him, Louis ?" 
"No," he exclaimed. "No, Marie! A thou- 
sand times, no ! I am in the garb almost of a 
beggar — I have been cast into prison — treated 
as a common felon — dragged through the mire — 
struck — treated as a dog — but I am no thirster 
after blood-money — no hireling of the law. Let 
the scoundrel plot, and live on his villainy — 
Louis Riviere is a gentleman !" 

" And I lost faith in you," whispered Marie, as 
she knelt at her husband's feet on their return 
home, clinging to him and embracing him 
fondly. " Oh, Louis, how w^ak are women- 
kind ? My own, my noble husband !" 



152 That L ittle FreNchniufi. 

" Tut — tut — little one," he said, raising her and 
kissing her fondly. " I did not mean to have 
any more to trouble us. Let it go now. But I 
am troubled, little one, lest there should be some 
diabolical plot against the State, and I do not 
like to stir in the matter. But, there — let it rest 
to-day, and let us talk of something else, for 
those thoughts make my blood boil, and seem 
to threaten madness ; whereas, after all these 
cares, I thirst for calm and peace." 




^ 




CHAPTER XVI. 

IN A CROWD. 
T times it has seemed as if when the 
blackest of crimes is about to be com- 
mitted Nature has put on her fairest 
smiles. Paris never looked so gay and cheery 
as one bright summer morning. It was gay 
enough for a fete day. Masters were in despair, 
for their ouvriers would not work. One and 
all they seemed disposed to prove the truth 
of Darwinism, by showing how man can 
evince a disposition to hark back to ancient 
animalism, and bask — bask everywhere in the 
bUnshinc, Honucs witli their charges llirongcd 



1^4 That Little Frenc)ii)iaiL. 

the Boulevards ; a regiment of the Guard had 
just passed by, marching jauntily to the music 
of the band. Paris was not en fete, but as 
nearly so as was possible upon an ordinary 
day. 

And now rumour repeated what had already 
been announced — namely, that the King would 
pass along the Boulevards on his way to the 
Chamber. 

There w^ere a few scowling faces, but for the 
most part those visible upon the pave were 
bright and cheery. There were gaily dressed 
ladies, too, in balconies and at open windows, 
with scented handkerchiefs laid ready to wave 
as the cortege swept past. 

That day, in the Rue Moliere, a party of men 
were assembled in the back room of a mean- 
looking house, and, in spite of an evident 
struggle, pale and worn of countenance. They 



That Little Frenclunan. 1 5 5 

all wore the ouvrier's garb, and loose blouse; 
but their hands looked fine and soft, and on the 
finger of one, the dirtiest of the party, glittered 
a diamond, evidently of some worth. 

" It is time," said one, who seemed to be the 
leader of the party. " Mind, we take our places 
as we rehearsed last night. Rue de la Reine in 
half an hour. Gentlemen, au revoir. 'Tis for 
liberty ! " 

They went out, one at a time, each putting 
either a cigar or a short pipe between his lips; 
though a looker-on might have observed that 
neither the one nor the other took the trouble 
to light his pipe or cigar, but walked quietly on, 
turning it between his lips, till he turned into 
one of the crowded streets, and mingled with 
the eager spectators. 

It may seem strange, but they one and all 
went through the crowd, apparently unmoved 



15*^ That Little FrenchnaH. 



by its gaiety, and as if those they passed were 
but so many flies sporting in the sun. But then 
they were patriots, men of large soul, ready to 
risk all for their dear country's sake— for the 
country of their birth, the country beautiful 
beyond all compare in their estimation — for La 
France. 

They passed on and were lost in the crowd, 
which grew thicker, brighter, and more gay, all 
along the line of route to be taken by his 
Majesty. 

At the same time Sir Richard and Lady 
Lawler, intent as usual on their quest, became 
entangled in the increasing crowd before they 
were aware that any particular event was ex- 
pected. 

" Let us get a fiacre, and get out of this 
crowd, Richard," said Lady Lawler. " I am 
very tired." 



That Little Frc}ichma7i. 1 57 



" I have been looking for one during the last 
five minutes," he said, lightly. At the same 
time, though, he felt uncomfortable; for all at 
once he recalled being in the streets upon a 
similar occasion, and it was as if an icy chill had 
come upon him as the incidents of the past 
swept by in a flood of thought, painting vividly 
every scene and its surroundings, till, in his 
excitement, he pressed on, forcing his way 
eagerly through the crowd to get awa)^ 

" How foolish !" he said lightly, striving hard 
to conceal his feelings from Lady Lawler. " I 
wish we had stayed at home. " 

" Richard," she said, suddenly, " I hope the 
King is not coming by here." 

" Oh, no, I should think not," he said, hastily. 
" Some regiments on the march out of Paris. 
You remember, we saw one not ten minutes 
ago." 



I 

1 5 8 That L it tie Frenchman. 



Lady Lawler was silenced, and they moved 
slowly on, every moment becoming more and 
more convinced that locomotion would soon be 
impossible, and that they would have to stay 
where they were ; and at last it proved so, for 
unless they made their way through a much 
denser portion of the crowd, further progress 
would be impossible. 

" Richard," said Lady Lawler, in a husky 
voice, ** I will try hard to keep up ; but I am 
frightened. I feel faint." 

'* Nonsense, darling, pray be a woman. There 
is nothing to alarm you ; see how peaceable 
and respectable a crowd it is." 

" Yes," she whispered, looking the while ashy 
white — " yes, but I have a horrible dread upon 
me. I know it is foolish ; but, Richard, I can- 
not help thinking of that day when — when — 
you know, the attempt." 



That L it tie French man . 159 



" Nonsense," he said, hastily, but drawing her 
arm protectingly through his own. '' But, keep 
up — such horrors as that occur but seldom in 
the history of a country. Don't be alarmed, it 
will not happen again." 

" Madame looks pale," said a gaily-dressed 
sightseer. " The crowd makes it for her too 
hot. Should not monsieur lead her quietly 
away.-*" 

"To be sure, yes," said Sir Richard, eagerly; 
"but how.?" 

" Oh, but it is easy. Press on a dozen steps, 
and there is a court between the houses — nar- 
row^ but it leads to quiet streets. Let me show 
monsieur.?" 

The offer was gratefully accepted, with the 
result that, after a little good-humoured crowd- 
ing and giving way, Sir Richard and Lady 
Lawler found themselves in a quiet little 



l6o Tliat Little Fraichman, 

alley, walking away from the busy, chattering 
crowd. 

"Ah!" sighed Lady Lawler, drawing along 
breath, "what a relief! Oh, Richard, you will 
think me ver\^ foolish ; but I could not help 
it." 

" My darling," he said, smiling gravely, 
"here's an open confession : I was in a horrible 
stew myself ; but I dared not avow it then for 
fear of fidgeting you. The burnt child dreads 
the fire, eh ?" 

Lady Lawler winced. 

"You are not poorly now?" he said, ten- 
derly. " There, keep up, and we shall soon be 
home." 

They walked pretty sharply down the alley, 
and along a street or two ; when, suddenly. 
Sir Richard dropped his wife's arm, and 
darted across the street. The next moment a 



That Little Frenchman. i6l 

horrible feeling of dread made Lady Lawler 
reel and lean against the wall of the nearest 
house for support, for she saw her husband 
standing face to face with Riviere. 



VOL. III. 







CHAPTER XVII. 

AT LAST. 

T last!" exclaimed Sir Richard, pant- 
ing, as he caught Riviere by the arm. 
"At last, Sir Richard Lawler," said 
Riviere, calmly. "And what would you with 
me.^" 

He did not stop, but continued to w^alk de- 
liberately, and heedless of the fact for the first 
few moments that Lady Lawler, recovering 
from her faintness, had, in her new-born ex- 
citement, run after them, and was at her 
husband's side. 

" Monsieur Riviere," said Sir Richard, hoarsely 



That L ittle Frenchman. 1 6 x 



"I have stopped you suddenly, but I have sought 
you long." 

"And for why, Sir Richard?" was the cold 
reply. "At our last meeting, you insulted me. 
I have been unjustly treated by you, and )'ou 
forgot to act as should a gentleman." 

The hot blood rushed into Sir Richard's face 
as they walked on, Lady Lawler close behind; 
but he forced down his anger. 

**Yes,"he said — "yes. Listen to me, Monsieur 
Riviere." 

"Our paths lie far apart, Sir Richard Lawler," 
said Riviere. "It were better that we should 
say no more." 

" ]^ut I would apologize," said Sir Richard. 
" Monsieur Riviere, I beg your pardon. I ask 
you as a gentleman to forgive my English rude- 
ness, my unjust suspicions ; and the cruel, cow- 
ardly way in which I behaved." 

II — 2 



164 TJiat Little Frenchman. 



Riviere turned sharply, with face quivering, and 
in an instant Sir Richard's hand would have been 
clasped in his ; but he saw Lady Lawler, and 
started back with surprise. 

It was but for a moment, though ; the next he 
had raised his hat — poor, pinched, worn thing 
that it was — and said in trembling tones, but 
with dignity — 

** It is enough, Sir Richard Lawler. You were 
mistaken — you have owned it. I do not ask 
you to lower yourself in the eyes of miladi, by 
saying more. Lady Lawler, Sir Richard, our 
intercourse from the first has ever been unfor- 
tunate for you— for miladi here — for me and 
mine. From now let us never meet again. I 
can see peace in the future, even if I am poor. 
The law forgets me, and it is enough. Marie is 
here. You have asked my pardon. I give it 
freely. And now I ask yours — pardon of both 



That Little FrencJimaii. 165 

of you for many hasty words uttered when I was 
heart-sick, stung by misfortune, and at last by 
our mad encounters. You forgive me ? Both ?" 

" Ah, yes — yes." 

" It is enough. Then now adieu !" 

He had half-turned to go, when Lady Lawler 
sprang forward, and clasped his arm. 

" Oh, not yet— not yet !" she pleaded. ''Mon- 
sieur Riviere, think how we have suffered ! 
Think of me as a poor weak mother, weeping 
night and day for my heavy loss. You have 
taken a cruel revenge ; you have punished us 
most bitterly. You say you forgive us now ; 
then give him to me back again — let me clasp 
him again in my arms, and I will bless the bitter 
lesson that has taught mc the weak, foolish 
woman that I was." 

"Madame! Miladi!" 



"Oh, Monsieur Riviere, is it not enough? 



1 66 That Little FvcncJunan. 

Have I not suffered till I have been almost 
mad ? Listen to me. Here ! See, I go down 
upon my knees to you, upon these cold stones ! 
Don't let me feel that they are harder than your 
heart." 

"But madame — miladi — rise. It is not seemly 
that you should kneel to me. I — " 

''Richard — Richard!" she cried, frantically, 
"kneel to him; he is hard and cruel, but he 
will relent, and give us back our boy." 

"Yes, yes. Monsieur Riviere accepts my 
apology, and will forgive us both, Adelaide. 
But do as he says, get up. Pray end this 
scene." 

"But it is for my boy I pray," sobbed Lady 
Lawler. "I cannot till he tells me that he will 
make me happy once again." 

"Miladi thinks that I have her son?" said 
Riviere, quietly. 



That Little Frenchman. 167 

"Oh, yes, yes. You stole him away from us. 
You took him to punish us for our cruelty to 
you," she sobbed; **but think, pray think, what 
I have suffered, and give him to me back !" 

"Miladi wrongs me," said Riviere, quietly. 
" I could not have been guilty of such an 
act." 

"Oh, pray, pray, pray do not say that!" she 
almost shrieked ; and evidently disbelieving his 
words. Sir Richard laid his hand upon Riviere's 
arm. 

"Have you not punished us enough?" he 
said. "What more would you have .? Give us 
back our boy. Ask what you will, I will humble 
myself to you as you wish, only set her poor 
heart at rest." 

"And is Sir Richard, too, so mad as to think 
I could be so dastardly a scoundrel as to stoop 
to steal his child — that I, Louis Riviere, could 



1 68 That Little Frenchniah. 

perpetrate so mean and cowardly an action to 
gratify my hate ? I tell you, I have not got 
your child." 

Lady Lawler rose from her knees, pressed 
back her hair from her forehead, and gazed at 
him as though he had been some monster. Then 
clutching his wrist in both her hands, she clung 
to him as he turned to go, crying wuldly — 

"Stop him, Richard — do not let him go. He 
has — he has killed our boy !" 

Riviere turned sharply round to Sir Richard, 
saying sternly — 

"Be gentle with her. She is a woman. She 
will see presently the folly of her words. What ! " 
he said, seeing a strange look in Sir Richard's 
face, "and do you, too, believe this thing.? Bah! 
it is absurd. I have not seen your child." 

He tried, with a half angry, half pitying look 
upon his countenance, to loosen the tight clutch 



That Little Frenchman. 169 

upon his wrist ; but in vain, it was useless, 
unless he resorted to violence ; and a half con- 
temptuous air came in place of the pitying look 
as he held out his wrist to Sir Richard, saying 
calmly — 

"Loose me." 

Sir Richard's reply was to lay his great broad 
hand upon Riviere's other arm, where it closed 
unintentionally with a grip as of iron. A fierce 
anger was overmastering him, and showed in his 
face, but he fought it down ; and when he spoke 
at last, it was in low, hoarse tones that he strove 
hard to make steady. 

"Riviere, we were friends once." 

"Never," said Riviere, calmly. "You always 
hated me in your heart." 

"No, no; I was a fool!" exclaimed Sir 
Richard. "I was bitter and rude to you; but 
then I have asked your pardon. I do so again. 



170 TJiat Little Frenchman. 

abjectly. Can I do more ? Give us back, then, 
our child ! I do not believe you have injured it. 
I could not think that. No man could do that. 
Tell me where he is, then ; if not for my sake, at 
least for hers. There, you will tell us, will you 
not.?" 

" I tell you that I have not had — I have not 
seen your child. Is not that enough V 

"Then he had him stolen away!" cried Lady 
Lawler, her maternal feeling now rousing in her 
a fierce anger and hatred against the man she 
believed to be their enemy, " Richard," she said, 
each moment becoming more bitter and un- 
reasonable, " he shall not leave us till we have 
our little one back." 

" But you are mad — both mad," exclaimed 
Riviere, scornfully, with the opposition which he 
was receiving breeding anger in his breast. " I 
tell you, I have not seen your child. Go. 



TJiat Little Frenchman. 17 1 

Loose me, both of you ; and seek your child of 
those who stole him from you." 

With a sharp wrench he tore himself away, 
fuming hotly, and began to stride slowly along 
the street ; but husband and wife were close 
upon him again directly; and Sir Richard, mad- 
dened by the dread of losing sight of him again, 
while at the same time he felt sure that Riviere 
knew something of the little one's abduction, 
though he would not or dared not speak, closed 
with him, catching his arm lightly, and speaking 
hastily the while — 

" Monsieur Riviere, do not be angry ; think 
how we suffer. Pray, pray listen. " 

"You are a madman — you will not hear 
reason," said Riviere, almost scornfully. 

" Yes, yes, I will," said Sir Richard ; " but 
you know — I feel sure that you know something 
of where our boy is taken." 



172 TJiat L ittle FrcncJnnan. 

" I will not speak. I will not say one word," 
said Riviere, hotly, though he kept his temper 
well under command, " You apologize to me, 
and tell me that you find all that I said was 
true ; and now, when I tell you on my honour 
as a gentleman that I know not where your 
child can be, you doubt me. Now, loose my 
arm, and let me go." 

*' No, no, not yet," cried Sir Richard. " I 
must know where he is." 

"There! do I not say you are a madman.^ 
Loose me, fool that you are ! Do you not see 
that I am a man embittered by my fate, full of 
angry passions, and still you tempt me 1 You 
will madden me too, until I shall turn upon 
you." 

He swung himself loose, and before Sir 
Richard could stay him, he turned and ran down 
a street close at hand, hotly followed by the 



That Little Freiichvian. ^ 173 

baronet, who, shouting to Lady Lawler, "Stay 
there," disappeared in an instant. 

All idea of appealing was now gone. Sir 
Richard was determined to overtake and, if 
necessary, call in the aid of the law to enable 
him to secure Riviere ; for now it flashed across 
his mind that the man he pursued was a 
fugitive from the State, and hence a word or two 
from him would send the police swiftly in pur- 
suit of him. 

"I did not want to injure him," muttered Sir 
Richard; "but what am I to do.? He knows 
where the little fellow is. Good heavens, I shall 
lose him ! " 

So he exclaimed as he sav; Riviere disappear 
round the corner at the bottom of the street. 
But he need not have redoubled his pace as he 
did, for on reaching the bottom it was to find 
himself in a street opening into one along which 



174 TJiat Little Frenchman. 

the expected cortege was to pass, so that it was 
thronged with spectators, and there was Riviere 
slowly edging himself in amongst the people on 
the pave. 

Hurrying on, he was soon within a few yards 
of Riviere ; but this latter part of his progress 
had been slow, and on glancing round it was to 
find that he had been followed by Lady Lawler, 
who soon after was standing near him on the 
outskirts of the crowd. 

He waved his hand to her to stay, but she was 
now as excited as he was himself; and trying to 
reach his side, the politeness of the French nation 
showed itself here, people making way to allow 
her to pass, so that in a short time husband and 
wife were once more side by side. 

This achieved, though, a nearer approach to 
Riviere did not seem possible. 

"We can at least keep him in sight," whispered 



That Little Frenchinaji. 1 7 5 

Sir Richard. "I can see him quite plainly — 
almost touch him where he stands. The crowd 
will soon separate." 

All thought of the past, of danger from the 
crowd, of present risk, was now forgotten in the 
one intense desire to obtain news of the little one 
that was lost; and Sir Richard stood watchful 
and eager, ready to seize upon Riviere should he 
get a chance. 

Twice he saw him look round, and Riviere 
must have seen that he was watched; but he 
paid no heed, for he was evidently watching 
some one in his turn, ever and anon edging him- 
self a little to the right, a movement imitated 
by Sir Richard, so as to preserve their relative 
distances. 

The crowd here, too, was well dressed; people 
were laughing and chatting gaily; many jokes 
were being bandied about, and more than 



176 That Little Frejichman. 

one man jokingly offered a quiet-looking ouvrier 
in a blouse a light for his empty short pipe, 
which he held tightly between his teeth; but the 
only effect it had was to make the workman 
edge back a little, so as apparently to be out of 
reach of the playful badinage; so that at last 
he stood upon the very outskirts of the crowd, 
here eight or ten deep. 

It was one of these allusions that had drawn 
Riviere's attention to the workman, and on see- 
ing him he turned deadly pale; then the blood 
flushed up into his face, and the veins about his 
temples swelled. 

This lasted but for a few moments, and 
though his heart had begun to throb painfully, 
the giddy sensation that affected him passed 
away, and he bent his head down to ensure that 
he was not observed, while his thoughts were 
busy. 



That Little Frenchman. 177 

It did not take Riviere long to collect him- 
self, and try to think out the meaning of what 
he saw — Lemaire, with his face soiled, his hair 
rough, and in an ouvrier's blouse. There was a 
reason for this, and what could it be ? 

He was not long in associating the day with 
one upon which the great troubles of his life 
had commenced. It was horrible to think of; 
but a plot was afoot, and its execution due this 
day. 

What should he do } 

If he gave an alarm, the plotters would 
escape ; and he should be arrested as a madman 
possibly, recognized, hurried off to a prison; 
and then Marie — his wife } 

It was too much. He dared not attempt it. 
But if he did not, what then } Perhaps a score 
of innocent beings would be hurried unprepared 
before their Maker — slain by these mad cnthu- 

VOL. III. 12 



178 That Little Frejichman. 

siasts, who perpetrated such horrors under the 
guise of patriotism. No, he must not give an 
alarm; it would only be to warn the con- 
spirators, who would escape — and only to work 
some mischief some other time. 

He stood thinking for a few moments, and 
then looked round. 

There must be others of the league close at 
hand — of that he was sure. But he was short, 
and his position prevented his seeing. There 
was Lemaire, though; and by a little skilful 
shifting he could get behind him, and if he were 
about to attempt any diabolical act, he might 
stop him. The crowd would help, no doubt. 

He tried then cautiously to edge his way 
along ; and by degrees he continued so to alter 
his position that at last he stood, unknown to 
Lemaire, close behind him, and so near that he 
could spring upon him at a moment's notice. 



That Little Frenchman. 179 

Riviere had been so taken up with his efforts, 
and the thoughts that rushed swiftly through 
his brain, that he did not observe that he in 
turn was followed, and that a minute after he 
had taken up his position there, where the crowd 
was most spare, Sir Richard Lawler and his 
lady had contrived to place themselves within a 
yard ; while from where he stood to the front 
was a closely packed crowd, eight or ten deep, 
then the open roadway kept by soldiers and 
sergents de ville, a similar crowd extending 
along the other side of the narrow street. 

And there stood Lemaire, pale through the 
grime upon his face, his empty pipe in his 
lips, and one hand concealed within his blouse, 
grasping a steel shell, studded with detonating 
nipples — a diabolical missile, one of the results 
of Doctor D'Aulnay's chemical research and 
mechanical ingenuity. Room given for him to 

12 — 2 



i8o That Little Frenchman. 

raise that hand to throw the steel ball — not 
bigger than that used for cricket — three, four, at 
the most half a dozen yards for it to fall in the 
open roadway, and there would be a frightful 
explosion : keen-edged segments of the shell 
would be hurled with lightning-like velocity, 
like a hail of death-dealing destruction, in every 
direction. 

It was a time of horrible suspense to certain 
actors in that scene : to the holder of the shell, 
to Riviere, and to those who looked upon him as 
the retainer of the secret that should make 
happy or miserable their lives. 

What was that t 

A distant murmur — a buzz — now louder, 
growing into a cheer — the rattle of wheels, the 
sharp patter of horses' hoofs, the jingle of ac- 
coutrements; the cheer growing louder, seeming 
to roll along the street where the crowd was as- 



That Little Frenchman. 



i8r 



sembled; handkerchiefs waving, heads stretched 
forward, warnings uttered in gruff tones by the 
sergents de ville — a wild sense of excitement on 
the part of the people to see that which they had 
seen before a score of times. 

"Vivele Roi!" 

"Ah! you here! For the sake of the God 
who made you, get back, Sir Richard — take her 
back ! Do you not hear me ? — take her away ! 
Fly, for your lives !" 

This, hissed by Riviere in Sir Richard's ear. 

"Not till we know where our child is placed," 
said Sir Richard, in a voice as wild as his 
own. 

"But, mon Dieu ! — do you not see .^ Fly for 
your lives ! Ah !" 

He gave Sir Richard Lawler a fierce thrust 
back, placing both his hands upon his chest, 
and with such violence that he staggered back 



1 82 That Little Frenchman. 

against Lady Lawler, for at that moment the 
royal cortege came up at a rapid trot; and 
amidst the cheers, but heard plainly above them, 
rang out a keen, shrill whistle. 

It was at one and the same moment that 
Lemaire, till then standing like a figure carved 
in stone, drew his hand sharply from his blouse 
— and Riviere, freed from Sir Richard Lawler, 
launched himself upon him, seizing the armed 
hand tightly, just as it was raised above the 
heads of the cheering crowd. 



CHAPTER XVIIL 

A HINT. 




IR RICHARD! for 

her sake, run ! " 

Riviere's words 
rang out hoarsely- 
above the noise of 
the crowd, and the 

rattle and jingle of the equipage and its escort; 

but Sir Richard Lawler pressed towards him, 

seeing nothing in the cry but a desire to scare 

him away. 



1 84 That L title Frenchfnan. 

Then he stood aghast as he saw Riviere en- 
gaged in a fierce struggle with an ouvrier; while 
two others drew knives, and struck at the little 
Frenchman again and again. 

''Sir Richard!" he shrieked, ''fly!— I cannot 
hold it!" 

Still Sir Richard Lawler stood there confused, 
seeing only Riviere struggling to possess himself 
of something held in the ouvrier's hand, which 
the other strove to hurl away. 

It was all the work of a few moments, and 
even as it took place beneath his eyes — crash ! — 
there was an awful explosion — another, and 
another, and another ! Heaven and earth 
seemed to be coming together; windows were 
blown in; there was a gap here in the crowd, 
and another there ; horses plunging wildly 
amongst the people, striking them down; a 
carriage blown off its wheels, and lying upon its 



That L ittle Frenchma7t. 185 

side; a faint, peculiar blasting odour in the air; 
for a moment a dead silence, and then shriek, 
yell, groan; the crowd rushing wildly here and 
there, trampling their fellow-creatures down on 
the bloody pavement, hideous with the deadly 
slaughter; and the soldiers too stunned for the 
moment to act. 

But the horrors were not yet at an end. A 
few yards from where the carriage lay upon its 
side, from which two personages had escaped 
almost unhurt, there was a struggle still going 
on — two men striving, the one to escape, the 
other to stay him, or obtain possession of the 
deadly shell; when a dark-bearded man in an 
ouvrier's dress ran up and struck at Riviere, 
just as Lemaire made a sudden writhe. 

The blow took effect on the wrong man, but 
Riviere was hurled to the ground by what 
followed; for, as if what had passed were not 



iS6 That Little Frenchman. 

enough, there was another sharp detonation, 
two more men were lying shattered upon the 
ground, while the third lay stunned, covered 
by the body of one of his foes. 

"Not dead, I hope? He saved our lives." 

"Ah, yes. Monsieur and his lady had a 
narrow escape, indeed. But he — no — he is 
much shaken ; but the man who held the shell 
screened him. He was killed, and the other 
— conspirators both. The carnage has been 
frightful— the street a little battle-field. It is 
frightful, this patriotism ! " 

The speakers were Sir Richard Lawler and 
one of the surgeons in the Maison Dieu, where 
Riviere had been borne, with many another 
sufferer by this new attempt upon the life of 
the King. 

But the King had escaped unharmed once 



That Little Frenchman. 187 

more, and been hurried away horror-stricken 
with his suite to a place of safety. 

It was plain to Sir Richard now, and he 
wondered at Riviere's knowledge of the danger; 
but there he lay, speechless and closed of eye; 
and soon after, a request was intimated by 
the surgeon that the patient should be left in 
peace. 

Sir Richard was there the next day, to find 
Riviere out of danger, lying there apparently 
free from pain, with his wife seated by his 
bed. 

A shadow crossed his face as he recognized 
Sir Richard; but the latter stepped forward, 
held out his hand, and said frankly — 

"Thanks, Monsieur Riviere. You saved our 
lives. For my wife's sake I thank you, as well 
as for my own." 

"It is good," said Riviere, softly. "I saw 



1 8 8 That L ittle Frenchman. 

the miscreant had a shell in his blouse. But 
there, he has gone to where he will be judged. 
Let us leave him in peace. Miladi is not 
hurt.?" 

"Not at all. She was shaken, of course, but 
not hurt. Riviere, we are in your debt. Let us 
be friends once more, and — " 

He hesitated; but Riviere smiled faintly, and 
said, half wearily — 

"You think I have your little one. Is it 
not so ? " 

"Yes. I cannot help it. We both feel that 
you know where he is," replied Sir Richard. 

"But, as I told you before — I can but repeat 
it — I know nothing certain of him. I did not 
take — would not have taken him. Sir Richard 
Lawler, it was not in me to be so base." 

Sir Richard sank back in his chair, a blank 
look of misery overspreading his countenance. 



That Little Frenchman. 189 

He had so clung to this hope, that, when it was 
taken from him, despair seemed to look out at 
him from the future more grimly than ever. 

Riviere looked at him for a few moments with 
a grim expression — almost of satisfied malice — 
in his face ; but, as if by an effort, he drove it 
away, and his eyes beamed out calmly and plea- 
santly upon the guest of his sick bedside. 

" Perhaps, though, after all, I can help you," 
he said. 

" You can V exclaimed Sir Richard, eagerly. 

*' I say perhaps," responded Riviere. " I am 
not sure, but I have my suspicions. Of course, I 
know all about your loss. I was a great deal 
about your house. I was in it more than once 
when you knew not of my being there. It was 
at such times as this that I took notice of certain 
things. Among other things that I noticed, I 
know that the party with which Lcmairc — the 



1 90 That Little Frenchman, 

poor wretch is dead now — was leagued watched 
your house. They knew that you had been in 
Paris — that you had harboured me. Hence 
they said that I was a spy upon their proceed- 
ings, and that you were connected with the 
Government — an English emissary, ready to 
search them out. They must have watched 
your movements. And once knowing, as I did, 
how they hung about the place, I thought that 
they had taken your little one to hold as a 
hostage against you." 

"And you think so now.-*" exclaimed Sir 
Richard, eagerly. 

" No, I do not think so now. It was a stroke 
above their policy. It never occurred to them, 
or they might have done ; though perhaps they 
tried. They did not do it." 

" Then tell me, pray tell me, and we will both 
bless you," 



That L ittle Frenchman. 1 9 1 

Riviere laid a hand, very weak and trembling, 
upon the other's arm, motioning to him to bend 
down over the bed, when he whispered a word 
or two in his ear, which made him start back as 
if incredulous, but for a light to break out all 
over his face, as he exclaimed — 

" Yes, I should not wonder ; but there was no 
object to be gained." 

" I have told you what I saw," said Riviere, 
quietly; ''follow it up, and see." 

The next moment he uttered a faint groan, so 
lustily had Sir Richard crushed his hands in 
both his own before hurriedly leaving the long, 
cold room. 

That night Sir Richard and Lady Lawler were 
on their way, by the express, for London. 




CHAPTER XIX. 

A SCENE IN THE DRAMA. 

T was a dismal-looking region where 
ji Abram Higgs was standing talking to 



his wife — a place of gloom and cob- 
webs, of whitewash and colourwash, that came 
off on the coats of people who forced their way 
there — a place where dirty, overgrown book 
covers seemed to be stood up on end, one against 
the other ; where there were ropes and pulleys 
overhead, and ropes and pulleys underneath, 
and a general aspect of daub, dirt, and desola- 
tion everywhere, save in front, which looked like 
a cavernous open mouth, with a row of dirty. 



That Little FrencJiman. 19- 



black, glistening teeth in front, till the eye grew 
more accustomed to that which it gazed upon, 
and made out, by means of some keen bright 
pencils of light which forced their way through, 
over the chandelier at the top, that this was a 
theatre, that the cavernous mouth was only the 
spectators' portion, with the row of footlights, 
while the chaotic part was the stage and its 
penetralia, known as " behind the scenes." 

There were two actors — three ; though one 
was for the time being invisible, the others 
almost, in the glo^m. They were alone in the 
theatre, and it was daytime; and a more deso- 
late, chill, draughty, dreary place it is hard to 
imagine amongst man's works for the amuse- 
ment of his fellows than a theatre by day, 
depending for its illumination upon what few 
stray rays have wandered helplessly in from the 
outer sunshine. 

VOL. 111. I . 



194 That Little Fre7icJu)ian. 

Abram Higgs was busy, hammer in hand, and 
with a dozen or so of tacks in his mouth, 
which interfered sHghtly with his speech. Jane, 
his wife, stood what playwrights term R.C., with 
her back towards where the audience should 
have been ; while her husband made slow 
descents, at intervals, upon ragged pieces of 
canvas that had been torn loose from their 
frames, and tacked them on. Now he was busy 
securing a piece of brick wall — painted, of 
course — that flapped in the wind ; a minute 
after he would attack and nail up a rippling 
stream ; whilst the chimney stack on the top of 
a house, six feet high, was so dilapidated, that 
he confided to Mrs. Higgs the fact that nothing 
but glue and a fresh touch of the brush would 
set that right. 

" They knock things about so," said Abram, 
very indistinctly. " I'm alius a going over 'em 



That Little Frenchma?!. 195 

to keep 'em decent ; and look at the side o' that 
hill!" 

Abram pointed to a pastoral piece of country, 
with a green slope and lambs, whereon there 
seemed to have been a strange geological catas- 
trophe — a slice of the said hill having been com- 
pletely torn off and doubled over, leaving the 
houses, so to speak, bare in the shape of the 
framework. 

" And they ought to pay you twice as much for 
your trouble, Abram — that's what I say," said 
Jane, who was shawled up very tight, and bore a 
bucket on her arm. 

" That's jest what I say, my dear," said her hus- 
band, tapping away at a mossy bank ; " but then 
they don't say so, therefore where's the good ?" 

" Some people never do get their deserts," 
said Jane, pettishly. *- 

"That's as true as trouble, Jenny, my dear," 

13—2 



196 TJiat Little frvnc/nna/i. 

said Abram, reaching up to drive in a tack in 
the back of a sylvan slip, which was in a very 
tottering condition. "Ah! would you?" he ex- 
claimed, and the slip would, for, true to its name, 
it tottered over, striking Abram Higgs on the 
head, which, however, had only rotten painted 
canvas to encounter, and went through it, leaving 
him supporting the narrow piece of scenery on 
his shoulders. Punch and Judy fashion, while his 
head looked out comically at his wife from a 
roughly daubed clump of trees. 

"Oh, Abram!" exclaimed Mrs. Higgs, "how 
you frightened me!" 

"Didn't frighten you half so much as I frit 
myself," was the reply of the unfortunate car- 
penter, as he extricated his neck from its canvas 
collar; and setting the slip once more on end, 
looked ruefully at his work. "See what a row 
there'll be about that blessed bit ! And it's 



That Little Fi^efichman. 197 

wanted to-night ! I shall have to clap a bit o' 
canvas on the back o' that, and then give it a 
few touches o' the brush." 

"But can you, Abram ?" 

"Can I !" he ejaculated, in a tone of profound 
contempt. " I've done lots o' that sorter thing. 
Why, scene painting's easy enough, if you only 
uses enough colour, and sets it far enough back 
from the horgiense. Oh, my !" 

Here Mr, Higgs began to cough, having been 
seized with a sudden idea that he had swallowed 
two or three tin tacks, and having doubts as to 
their efficacy as an article of diet. 

"What's the matter.?" said Mrs. Higgs, 
anxiously. 

"Nothing," muttered Abram, counting over 
the tacks with the tip of his tongue. "Only 
thought I'd swallowed a couple." 

"Why will you put nails in your mouth, 



tgS Tiiat Little Frenclnnaii. 

Abram?" exclaimed his wife, reproachfully. 
"You know how dangerous it is." 

*'No it ain't," he grumbled, "unless you 
swallow 'em." 

"Ah," said Mrs. Higgs, "there was a little 
boy where I was once nurse as swallowed a 
pin." 

"Lor', did he now.-*"' said Abram. 

"Yes, that he did," said his wife. 

"Well?" 

"Well, I don't know any more, only he used 
to cry about having pins and needles pricking 
his feet, and then I left." 

"Oh!" said Abram. 

And he made a descent upon a fresh piece of 
damage which he had discovered in a scene 
pushed right back. 

"But I say, you know," he said, returning to 
his wife's side, where he stood, the while critic- 



That Little Frenc/unau. 199 

ally examining his work, as he proceeded to 
recharge his mouth with tacks from a paper 
packet, mumbling on afterwards in his speech, 
"how about that boy ?" 

" No, Abram, it won't do — won't do at all," 
said Mrs. Higgs. 

" Well, I don't see why it wouldn't do," mum- 
bled Higgs. " It's four shillings a week extra, 
as long as the piece lasts, and an introduction 
to the profession. Now what do you keep on 
shaking your head about in that aggravating 
way for .^ We can't always go on keeping on 
him without his doing a scrap of work for his 
own living." 

" For shame, Abram ! and him quite a 
baby!" 

** Baby, indeed ! " exclaimed Abram, so ex- 
citedly that he nearly cngulphed some tacks. 
" I never see a baby as could twist in so much 



200 TJiat Little Frenclunajt. 

bread and butter. Now lookye here, Jane, he'd 
only have to wear a spangley musHn and wings, 
and be a fairy and stand in a shell." 

"A fairy with a game leg!" said Jane. 
"Psha!" 

" Well, who'd see it when he was a standing 
still } Why, you'd be able to have a new bonnet 
soon." 

" He — won't — do it — so now then," exclaimed 
Jane, stamping her foot, and making the con- 
tents of her basket rattle — evidently the knife, 
fork, plate, and basin in which she had brought 
her husband's dinner. "Now, look here, Abram; 
if ever you say another word about it, I'll go 
into a temper for a week." 

" No, don't do that, my lass — don't do that," 
said Higgs, as soothingly as the tacks would let 
him. " I won't say no more about it — not a 
word. I only thought, you know, as it would be 



TJiat Little Freuc/unan. 2oi 

for the best, that's all, and bring a bit more 
money into the house." 

" Then it sha'n't be done, so now then," said 
Jane. ** I'd sooner take in washing." 

" No, no, don't do that," said Abram, seeking 
by soft words to pacify his dame; **it makes the 
house smell so damp and soapy." 

'' My pretty boy, indeed ! painted and dressed 
up for a show !" said Jane. '' I should just think 
not!" 

" Well, I aint a pressing for it, Jane, now, am 
I V said Abram, appealing to the irate Mrs. 
Higgs. "I don't want to do anything as you 
don't like, my lass. There, give's a kiss and 
make it up, and I won't say no more." 

"What.^ and your mouth full of tin tacks!" 
said Jane, indignantly, but evidently softening 
now she had carried her point. 

" Which there warn't only one left," said 



202 TJiat Little Frenchman. 

Abram, removing it before giving the affec- 
tionate salute. "And where is he ?" 

"Along o' Mrs. Prosser in the property-room," 
said Jane, "bless him ! Where are you going to 
eat your dinner V 

" Oh, Mrs. Prosser '11 let me eat it in there, I 
dessay," said Higgs, laying down his hammer ; 
and then, followed by his wife, he made his way 
from the stage to a side room full of cases, cup- 
boards, and incongruities, in the midst of which, 
busily repairing the rents in a pair of tights, was 
the lady mentioned as Mrs. Prosser ; while, 
seated upon a stool, his chin upon his hands, 
which rested upon his knees, w^as a little curly- 
haired urchin, staring with all the might of his 
round, blue eyes at a great mask head leaning 
up against the wall, and whose red nose, ruddy 
face, and great goggle eyes, seemed to have 
quite a fascinating power over him. 



1 Jiat Little Frenchman. 203 

Neither the busy old woman nor he heard the 
approach of Mr. and Mrs. Higgs, the old lady 
being too busy over her work ; while as for the 
boy, just as the new comers reached the door, it 
was to see him double his little fist, and after a 
sharp, furtive glance at Mrs. Prosser, give the 
great mask a sharp punch right on the side of 
the nose. 

''Ah, Tommy, what are you doing.?" ex- 
claimed Mrs. Higgs. "Mischief again !" 

" I don't like him," said the boy, turning very 
red and hot, but going bravely up to Mrs. 
Higgs, who contented herself by shaking an 
admonitory finger in the boy's face, and then 
smoothing his curls. 

" Would you mind me setting down and 
eating my bit of dinner here, Mrs. Prosser.?" 
said Higgs. 

"Lord bless the man, no I" was the reply. 



204 That Little Frenchman. 

" Haven't I told you so a hundred times ? 
And how are you, Mrs. Higgs ? My task's 
been — " 

" Here's a lady and gent wants to see Mr. 
Higgs," said a dirty-faced boy, thrusting the 
said dirty face into the room. 

"The Lord ha' mercy!" ejaculated Jane, 
piously, as she caught the little boy closer to 
her side, and half concealed him in her shawl. 

As for Abram Higgs, he started up from 
the littered table where he sat, and began to 
deposit plate, basin, knife and fork in the in- 
terior of the fallen head. 

" You must say as w^e're — there, don't stand 
gaping like that!" cried Jane, in a regular flurry 
of agitation; "go and sec who it is, and don't 
bring them near mc. Come along, my darling." 

She caught up the boy, and hurried out 
amongst the chaotic scenery on to the stage, 



That Little FrencJiman. 205 

where she stood shivering for a few moments in 
the gloom. 

Suddenly an idea struck her, and she caught 
the boy to her, and whispered — 

"Shall we have a game at hide and seek?" 

The child danced about her with delight — 
showing, though, that he was slightly lame. 

" Then you let me hide you, my pretty, and 
father will come with somebody, and perhaps 
want to find you, and say, 'Where is he?' and 
you won't speak, will you?" 

"No!" said the little fellow, gleefully. 

" Come along, then," said Jane, in a whisper, 
for she could hear voices approaching — "come 
along, my pretty one!" and catching the boy 
up, she ran to the side, and lifted him into one 
of the stage boxes. "There," she whispered, 
" creep behind the curtain, and hide there. 
Don't you move till they are gone, and it will 



2o6 That Little Frenchman. 

be such fun. They'll be so cross because they 
can't find you." 

The little fellow scuffled in behind the curtain, 
and he was hardly ensconced before Higgs came 
on, closely followed by a lady and gentleman, 
whom, dark as it was, Jane recognized in a 
moment, and fell a trembling. 

"Ah, there she is!" exclaimed a very familiar 
voice, as soon as the speaker's eyes had become 
a little accustomed to the gloom. "Mrs. Higgs, 
Jane, we have come down here to Liverpool, 
Sir Richard and I, to find you, after a very, very 
long and weary search." 

" And it was very kind of your ladyship," said 
Jane, huskily. "And did your ladyship want 
me.?" 

Sir Richard was about to speak, but Lady 
Lawler checked him. 

" Let me talk to her," she whispered ; then 



That Little Frenchmaji. 207 

turning to Jane, she laid her hand upon her 
arm, and said, very softly, "Jane, you have been 
married some time now." 

" Yes, ma'am — my lady. Time goes so fast." 

"And you have been very happy with your 
husband.^" 

" Yes, my lady — no, my lady," said Jane, 
whose voice trembled audibly. 

" Are you a mother, Jane.''" 

" No, my lady — yes, my lady ; that is, I 
have — " 

Here Jane's answer trailed off into nothingness. 

"Jane," said Lady Lawler, very quietly, and 
with a tinge of pathos in her voice, " I was fret- 
ful and impatient at times ; but I think I was a 
good mistress to you." 

"Which you was, my lady," sobbed Jane, 
bursting into tears, " and it almost broke my 'art 
to go away." 



2oS That Little FrencJiman. 

"Then how could you be so cruel to me, 
Jane ?" 

" Which I don't understand what your lady- 
ship means," sobbed Jane. 

'* Stand still, sir ! — move away from here if 
you dare ! " here exclaimed Sir Richard Lawler, 
catching Higgs by the arm, just as he was try- 
ing to make his exit at the left wing. 

" Which you'll please let my husband alone, 
Sir Richard, sir," exclaimed Jane, firing up and 
speaking shrewishly. " Don't you 'it 'im — we 
aint your servants — so now." 

"Richard! — pray!" exclaimed Lady Lawler, 
running to his side. "Mr. Kiggs, don't go — 
stop and hear what I am going to say to your 
wife." 

" I don't want to," murmured Abram, who 
had already replenished his mouth with tacks. 

" You come and stand over here by me, 



That Little Frenchman. 209 

Abram," exclaimed Jane; and her lord and 
master shuffled across in a very ungainly way. 

"Listen to me, Jane," said Lady Lawler, 
taking her hand, which Mrs. Higgs submitted to 
with no very good grace. " We don't come to 
you with policemen and — " 

" Which I should think not, indeed ! " ex- 
claimed Jane, indignantly. "What does your 
ladyship mean V 

" Only that I am a mother, Jane, come to 
appeal to your woman's heart — to ask you to 
have pity on me, and to think of all the sorrow 
I have passed through." 

" I don't understand your ladyship at all," 
said Jane, trying to release her hand, but trem- 
bling violently the while. "What can you 
mean V 

" Mean, Jane," said Lady Lawler, sadly, " that 
you are trying to deceive me for some reason. 

VOL. III. 14 



2 1 o That L it tie Frenchmmi. 

If it is money you want, say so, and you shall 
have all you ask for." 

" Which I am sure we don't want your money, 
my lady," said Jane. 

Here she was interrupted by her husband, 
who gave her a terrible nudge with his elbow. 

"Be quiet, you stupid oaf, you!" exclaimed 
Jane, fiercely. "You dare so much as to open 
your lips, and — " 

She said no more, for this much had the 
desired effect, Abram Higgs collapsing and 
standing a piece of lim.pness for the rest of the 
interview. 

"Come, Jane," said Lady Lawler, "tell me all 
about it." 

" All about what, my lady.?" said Jane. 

" About why you did it. You shall not — I 
promise you that — you shall not be punished; 
only give him up to us." 



That L ittle FrcncJnnan. 211 

'* Your ladyship must be out of your senses!" 
exclaimed Jane, who shivered terribly. 

" You used to love him, I believe that," said 
Lady Lawler. 

"Which I did, my lady," cried Jane, with a 
burst of tears, and sobbing, " as dearly as if 
he'd been my own flesh and blood." 

Then she saw that she had made a false step, 
and tried to recover herself. 

"But what can your ladyship mean.-* What 
have you come to us poor folk for.''" 

"Oh, Jane — Jane — Jane!" sobbed the mother, 
"if you are a woman and not a fiend, tell me 
where you have placed my boy. Tell me that 
he lives — that he is safe, and I will bless 
you." 

" Oh, indeed, indeed, I — I don't know, my 
lady," exclaimed Jane, sobbing too; while Sir 
Richard moved impatiently about, as if longing 

14 — 2 



212 That Little Frenchman. 

to seize her, and try and shake the truth from 
her lips. 

**You do — you do know, Jane; tell me, pray 
tell me! Or you — you, her husband," she cried, 
turning to Higgs. " Tell me where our child 
is, if living; where he is buried, if he be dead." 

"If you dare to speak, Abram!" cried Jane. 

" Then you — you tell me, Jane," cried Lady 
Lawler. "You shall not be blamed — we will 
not ask you why you did it — and you shall be 
rewarded! Only give us back our child." 

" But I — I — don't know — I never — I don't 
know where he is." 

" Whoo-o-o-op !" cried a little sweet voice, 
sounding half muffled, but close at hand. 

Lady Lawler uttered a wild cry; and the next 
moment a pretty round face peered laughingly 
out of the curtains of the nearest stage box, and 
then popped back again. 



That Little Frenchman. 



213 



With one bound Sir Richard Lawler darted 
to the box, and caught out the wondering child, 
who was the next moment snatched from his 
arms, and held to his mother's breast, as she 
rained kisses on his upturned face. 





CHAPTER XX. 

AN OPEN CONFESSION. 
OR a few moments Jane Higgs stood as 
if paralyzed. She had made a step to 
reach the box, but it was too late — 
her secret was betrayed. Then she turned to 
her husband, to see him disappearing in a canvas 
grove; and now, after standing at bay — after 
bearing the weight of it all so long, she threw 
herself on her knees and begged for mercy. 

"Oh, my lady — my lady! — oh, Sir Richard, 
don't — don't send me to prison ! I've loved him 
so much that it will 'most break my heart to lose 
him. And his leg is nearly well, and the doctor 



TJiat L ittle Frenchmaji. 2 1 5 

says he'll grow out of it all as he gets older; and 
oh ! pray, pray forgive me ! I did not know 
what I was doing. Let me kiss him once 
again !" 

The little fellow had struggled now from Lady 
Lawler's arms; but she was too much overjoyed 
to feel the pang it might otherwise have caused, 
as she saw the child run to nestle in his old 
nurse's breast. 

"He thinks I'm his mother," sobbed Jane; 
"and it will break my 'art to lose him." 

"Here, come to the hotel," said Sir Richard. 
"Bring him, Jane, yourself. Let's get away from 
here." 

The sobbing woman rose obedient to her old 
master's words; and a few minutes later, when 
Higgs emerged from his concealment. Sir 
Richard Lawler's fly was bearing wife and 
child away. 



2 16 TJiat Little Frenchman. 

" I know'd it must come out sooner or later," 
he muttered, spitting a tack here and a tack 
there all about the stage. "If ever there was 
anything wrong, it's due to the women. But I 
mustn't leave them there." 

This was apropos of the tacks, which he dili- 
gently picked up once more ; and then, in sore 
trouble as to the future of himself and wife, he 
made his exit 

Arrived at the hotel, Jane was all eagerness 
now to tell all she knew — the more so that, in 
spite of all, there seemed to be no tendency on 
the part of either Sir Richard or Lady Lawler, 
gratified as they were at the success of their 
quest, to depart from the promise to be satisfied, 
and not seek to punish. 

" It's been a terrible trouble to me, my lady," 
Jane said ; "for I never meant to do it, and I've 
been 'most heartbroken with keeping my secret, 



That L ittle Frenchman. 2 1 7 

sometimes ; but I've always been like a mother 
to the dear child, as I ought to have been, seeing 
how cruel I behaved to him at first. I've been 
punished as it is, my lady, over and over again ; 
and if I ever hang, it would be no more than I 
deserved, my last request only being for some 
one to put on my gravestone, 'Affliction sore, 
long time she bore.' 

"It's very kind you are to me after the wicked 
stories I felt obliged to tell you, my lady and 
Sir Richard ; but it was all through being that 
scared, I could not for the life of me tell the 
truth ; and, oh ! my lady, it wasn't all my 
fault." 

Here Jane covered her face with her hands for 
a few minutes, and rocked herself to and fro, 
sobbing so that it was some time before they 
could get her to proceed. 

"I'll tell you all directly, my lady, only please 



2l8 That Little Frenchman. 

be patient with me; and please — please don't 
think of sending for the police when you hear 
all of how bad a woman I have been. I have 
never seen a policeman for months past without 
having a cold shiver run all through me, for it 
seemed as if they knew I'd been guilty of steal- 
ing the child, and them reading it all plain in 
my face; and I'm glad now that it's all found 
out, so that I may once more be easy in my 
mind." 

"Yes, but pray go on," said Sir Richard, 
impatiently. 

"Yes, yes. Sir Richard and my lady, I will," 
sobbed Jane, trembling as she spoke. ''It was 
like this, Sir Richard — that day — that afternoon 
— you and my lady — were gone out — Abram — 
my Abram — was to come and see me — he 
wanted for us to be married — and I — I kept 
putting him off — and I saw him — come — 



That Little FreJicJunan. 219 

from the dining-room window — and it was 
open !" 

Jane's voice had been growing more broken 
each moment; and now, catching sight of the 
eager looks directed at her, she broke down, 

"I— oh! what shall I do?" she sobbed. "I 
hardly dare tell you all. Pray forgive me, Sir 
Richard, and it shall be the last time !" 

" If you'll go on," he said, gruffly. " If 
not—" 

"Oh, yes, Sir Richard, I'll go on," she sobbed. 
"I — that is — the dining-room window was open 
— I forgot it — but as I went out I asked Fanny 
to look at the child — and mind him. And then 
I went down — and Abram came in through the 
area gate, and down the steps, and we stood in 
the area, close against the coal-cellar door, where 
people who walked along the pavement couldn't 
see us. We got talking a deal about being 



220 That L ittle Frenchman. 

married, and I'd nearly consented to give notice, 
when I recollected that it was time to go, and 
Abram kissed me, and I kissed him again, for 
he was soon going to be my husband ; and 
though he was very fond of me, I'd snubbed 
him a deal; and I thought in my heart I'd send 
him away happy. And very happy we both 
were, till I felt a cold chill all through me, as I 
heard a pretty little laugh above our heads. I 
looked up, and there, at the dining-room window, 
was that darling child, climbed up so as to stand 
on a chair and lean out; when, seeing me down 
below, he laughed and prattled in his little way, 
and got right on to the sill. 

"'Run up and stop him, or he'll be out!' 
Abram said; but I couldn't move. 

"'Go back, my pretty,' I says to him, with 
my head all on the swim; and then — I don't 
know how it was, I put my hands up, horrified- 



That L ittle Frenchman. 2 2 1 

like; but the poor little darling — oh ! I can't tell 
it— I can't tell it!" 

There was a burst of sobbing- for a few 
moments, and then Jane went on again, 

" The — poor darling thought I had put out 
my hands same as I did when I was teaching 
him to jump off the table to be caught ; and 
before I knew what he was going to do, he 
jumped right out of the window, staggering me 
so with horror that I couldn't try to catch him ; 
and there, in an instant, he came down with a 
horrible dull crash on the stones, falling all 
those feet, and then never moving ; when I 
snatched him up, and ran with him into the 
coal-cellar. 

** 'Oh, he's dead ! he's dead ! my pretty dar- 
ling !' I sobbed ; and I felt as if my heart would 
burst. Then a dreadful fright came over me, 
and I seemed to see myself hanging on a 



222 That Little Frenchman. 

gallows for murdering the poor child ; for no- 
body I felt sure would believe me when I said 
that I'd left it, and it tumbled out of the win- 
dow. But I could never think of words to tell 
you how I felt, and what horrible thoughts came 
over me again and again. 

" I seemed to want to scream, but I couldn't. 
I could only stand and look at that little limp 
thing in my arms, that only a few moments 
before was all life, and laughing at me, and 
now so still and helpless ! I couldn't think 
about a doctor then — only about my being 
hung, and Abram's heart being broken. And 
it seemed as if something was putting all sorts 
of terrible thoughts into my head, till poor 
Abram spoke, and then I was ready to do 
something. 

" *0h, Jenny !' he said, Svhat shall we do V 
"'I won't be hung, if it's only for your sake, 



That Little Frenchman. 223 

Abram,' I thought to myself; and I put the 
poor little thing in his arms. 

" ' Hold it a minute,' I said, in a voice I did 
not know for mine; and I said it, for I thought 
the little thing was dead. Then I left him 
standing inside the coal-cellar for a few minutes, 
while I ran to fetch a shawl, and for a minute I 
thought the area door was locked, and I should 
have to run away. But I got in, ran and fetched 
a shawl, and going back, I wrapped the poor 
little thing right in it, and looked then in 
Abram's face. 

"'What shall I do, Jenny .^" he says, looking 
at me. 

" * Go and bury it somewhere,' I says, 
hoarsely, not in my voice, but just as if some- 
thing in me was speaking to him ; and, without 
a word, he went up the area steps and out with 
that bundle, no one seeing him ; and I, all the 



224 That Little FrejicJunan. 

while feeling half mad with fear, crept in, and 
met Fanny directly, and spoke to her, as you 
know. 

" Often and often it was on my lips to con- 
fess it, but I never dared, and always kept to 
that tale that I had left the poor child; and fear 
of being hung for what I had done kept me 
more and more from saying a word, till, as days 
went on and I was ill and half mad, it was kept 
hid. 

"Then Abram came to see me when I was ill, 
and from what he told me I was almost ready to 
confess; but I dared not— dared not, though I 
wished hundreds of times that I had. And at 
last, you know, sir, he fetched my boxes, and I 
went away, and we were married. And always 
after things went bad with us — and all, as I've 
told myself hundreds of times, as a judgment 
upon me; I mean all the poverty we've had, and 



That Little FrcncJnnan. 225 

the misery, and being afraid of being found out. 
It's all been one long time of punishment, my 
lady, and all for a bit of neglect; for I loved the 
poor dear too well to have hurt a hair of his 
head." 

The affection displayed by the little fellow for 
his old nurse was the plainest proof of this 
assertion ; and as to his treatment, no matter 
what poverty Jane and her husband might have 
suffered, the boy was well dressed, clean, and 
healthy ; while his lameness was one that he 
would soon outgrow. 




VOL. III. t5 




POSTSCRIPT. 

THAT LITTLE FRENCHMAN. 
T was some twelve years after the scene 
at Liverpool, that Sir Richard Lawler, 
a florid, slightly grey man, was return- 
ing with his lady from a trip through Switzerland 
and Italy. Their son, a handsome youth, was 
their companion; and for attendants, to occupy 
the rumble of the old-fashioned travelling 
carriage, with its well-bound springs and boxes 
and leather pockets, they had a comely dame, 
with forty years written on her pleasant face — 
her ladyship's maid — and Sir Richard's — mi- 
lord's, as the hotel-keepers dubbed him — valet, 



That Little Frenchman. 227 

a stolid, straightforward, middle-aged man, who 
confided to the lady's maid (his wife) that he 
thought foreigners rather a low lot. 

It is worthy of remark that her ladyship 
always addressed her maid as Jane ; and that 
Sir Richard generally summoned his sturdy 
valet by the name of Higgs — sturdy, indeed, for 
he had saved his master's life, swimming ashore 
with him when their boat was capsized on 
Como. 

The travellers had reached their hotel, and 
were about entering, when an exclamation from 
Lady Lawler arrested Sir Richard, who started 
for a moment on seeing his wife run to a well- 
dressed lady, and seize her hands — he following 
suit, how^ever, the next minute by frankly salut- 
ing a little, stiff, grey-moustached officer, who 
was as cordial and frank in return. 

But the intimacy ceased there, after Sir 



228 7 hat Little Freitchman. 

Richard had learned that Colonel Riviere was in 
high favour, and one of the leading officers of 
the National Guard. They were all very cordial 
together, and invitations were given on both 
sides, though neither party wished the other to 
accept. Five minutes after, they were parted to 
meet no more. 

" Higgs," said young Clive Lawler to the 
valet, that afternoon, " who was that officer papa 
was speaking to in the hall .?" 

"Don't know, sir — leastwise, can't say, sir," 
said the imperturbable Higgs. 

But young Clive was not to be put offi Find- 
ing Jane, he put the same question to her. 

" Jane, who was that officer papa was speaking 
to in the hall } He seemed so cross when 
mamma mentioned him afterwards ; and mamma 
ijaid she would rather we went on at once to 



That Little Frenchman. 229 

London, as she did not wish to see any more of 
that Httle Frenchman ; and then papa looked 
pleased again. Who was he, Jane ?" 

" Who was he, my child ?" said Jane, mysteri- 
ously. "Why, that little Frenchman." 



THE END. 



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