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127 “Her first enterprise was directed against M. M. de Polignac. She found means to introduce herself into the maison de santé in which they were confined. However, she was not very successful. The two captives received her coolly, and endeavoured to get rid of her; but she was not easily discouraged: she continued to hover about them, and made such a parade of royalism, that she managed to get possession of an important letter, which supplied me with some valuable information. This letter described a journey in the south, undertaken by a royalist emissary, who named the leaders of the party, their respective capabilities, their position in society, characters, etc. It was quite a treasure.

"At one of our monthly interviews, my fair emissary thus addressed me:

Monseigneur, my zeal in your service carries me so far that, for the sake of obliging you, I sometimes condescend to mingle in very bad company: I have now made a valuable discovery.'

“What is it?"

"'A gang of thieves are ravaging, by their depredations, Paris and its environs. If you wish to know their ringleaders and their haunts, here is a note which will help you to find them out.'

“I took the paper which she presented to me, and, to my inexpressible surprise, I found that it contained a quantity of information, such as could only have been obtained by the foulest treachery. My rule was never to question my agents, or, as they were called, my mouches. "I received their disclosures, and that was all. To torment them by wishing to know everything, is the only way to lead them into falsehood. They will not always name their informants; I never deviated from my rule. When I had some particular reason for knowing every circumstance, then I erected counter-batteries, which I did on the occasion to which I am now referring.

“I was anxious to know the devices by which my sylph had been enabled to make these discoveries. I sent for the officer who had the surveillance of the thieves of Paris, and I stated the case to him. Five days afterwards, I learned that, among the numerous lovers of my lady

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mouche, was one of the most celebrated of our Parisian thieves. This fellow spent one half of his life in the jails, and the other balf in the most splendid hotels: he was quite a hero in the annals of crime, endowed with address, courage, and talent; but so utterly depraved that I could never prevail on myself to employ him.

“This man, however, being outwitted in some of his dishonest operations by another rogue of his acquaintance, avenged himself by denouncing to me his rival and his comrades. It is gratifying to see wolves reciprocally devouring each other; and I availed myself of the information received from F.... until I should have the opportunity of seizing him in his turn.

“About this time, there arrived in Paris a handsome young man of three and twenty years of age, the son of an émigré of rank. This young gentleman was known by the assumed name of M. Le Noble. The ostensible object of his visit to Paris was to obtain for his family, who were still absent, the restoration of some unsold estates:but, in fact, he was a secret agent of Louis XVIII., who had intrusted him with an important mission.

“His evil star led him to visit a certain Viscountess, of whom I shall say nothing, as it would be difficult to say any thing bad enough. Her house was the resort of a great deal of gay company, among whom were jumbled together honest men and swindlers, ladies of respectability, and females of doubtful reputation: in short, all that mixed society which abounds in every great city, and which persons, who are not very cautious or very fastidious, may easily fall into.

“At the parties of this Viscountess, M. Le Noble met my fair mouche, and was soon captivated by her attractions. She, at the very first introduction, suspected that he was something better than he seemed to be. She plied him with declarations of the most enthusiastic royalism. Love is credulous: and Le Noble's passion formed no exception to the rule He was confiding, and let fall some hints respecting the real object of his visit to Paris. This disclolike

his innamorata. After a regular series of sighs and glances, letters were interchanged. These were, in their turn, followed by assigna

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tions. The intimacy at length attracted notice, and incurred the well-feigned displeasure of the lady's aunt.

One morning, whilst the rain was pouring in torrents, Le Noble was surprised to hear a knock at the door of his apartment; but, how much greater was his surprise, when, on opening the door, he beheld the mouche breathless with agitation, and almost dissolved in tears!—Exclamations and questions rapidly succeeded each other.

• How!....Is it possible?.... Can it be you?'

“It is .... I am lost .... undone!.... And I know no one to whom I can fly for protection but you.'

««What means this? .... What has happened?"

“Alas! my aunt has broken open my desk and discovered your

letters .... I feared to encounter her anger ... and I have fled from home!'

« Mon Dieu, Mademoiselle! what is to be done? You know I have not deceived you. From the first moment of our acquaintance, I told you, candidly, that I was not my own master—that I should compromise the interests of august individuals were I to attach myself to France by a marriage which, under other circumstances, would constitute my utmost happiness, and concentrate all my affections.'

66"I know it, dear Le Noble, the fault is all my own; and I will not require you to do any thing which may compromise your honour. I only conjure you to call on the Commander de Châteauneuf, who is my aunt's particular friend; ask him to go to her and appease her anger. From

. thence, I should wish you to go to the Vicomtesse, and implore her to receive me, in case my aunt should prove inexorable. You can stay with the Vicomtesse until you hear the result of the Commander's intercession, and then you can all three come here and tell me my fate.'

“Poor Le Noble, distracted between love and despair, and generously reproaching himself for all the mischief, flew to execute the orders of the distressed damsel. You all know the Commander de Châteauneuf. To make himself of importance, is the grand object of his existence; and he was very anxious to do anything to serve me. I had sent one of my agents to give him a hint of the part he was to play. He entered into a long conversation with Le Noble


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on the subject of his unfortunate attachment; expressed regret, evinced indecision, and, at length, took up his hat and went out. He accompanied Le Noble as far as the house of the Vicomtesse, where he left him, and proceeded on his embassy to the young lady's aunt.

“Le Noble, though seated in conversation with the Vicomtesse, counted the moments of the Commander's ab

The clock struck twelve. The lady endeavoured to amuse her visitor; but, his heart and his thoughts were at home. Half-past twelve arrived, and the Commander appeared. The aunt was appeased. She had listened to

. reason; and now all that remained was, to announce the grateful tidings to the lovely niece. The Vicomtesse retired to get her hat and shawl. This occasioned some little additional delay, and, at two o'clock, Le Noble returned to his lodgings, distressed to think of the anxiety which his fair visitor must have suffered during his absence.

“Little did he suspect, that he had no sooner left his house, than a host of searchers, lock-smiths, cabinet makers, decypherers of bandwriting, etc., had been admitted to his apartments: that his desk, his drawers, even the bed, the curtains and every article of furniture had undergone a rigorous examination. Full powers, credentials, diplomatic notes, and directions indicating where other important papers were to be found, all fell into the hands of my agents, either in copies or extracts; and it was known where to find the originals, if necessary.

It was to accomplish this object, that the scheme had been devised for getting Le Noble out of the way. By this means, we avoided the odium which would have attended a forcible seizure of the papers; and nothing occurred to excite the least attention or curiosity on the part of the other inmates of the hotel. My agents, who had taken the precaution of stationing in the street numerous scouts, departed at least half an hour before Le Noble returned. He found the young lady, as he had left her, bathed in tears; but the assurance of her aunt's forgiveness consoled her, and she departed, with many protestations of eternal fidelity. Next day, the police paid a formal visit to Le Noble. He was arrested. The evidence of his guilt was undeniable. He was tried on the two-fold

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A Mysterious Note.

131 charge of being a spy, and of being engaged in a plot for assassinating the Emperor. He was found guilty of both crimes, condemned and executed."

On hearing this terrible dénouement, we all uttered an exclamation of horror.

“Surely, gentlemen,” said the Duke of Otranto, “it is a very false kind of sympathy which urges you to feel a deeper interest for the assassin, than for his victim. The young man whose story I have just narrated, was a Ravail. lac, an Ankerstroem, and he well deserved his fate.”

“Yet,” observed I, “the means employed to obtain his conviction were base and treacherous.”

“How! would you rather see the crime perpetrated, than take measures to prevent it by revealing the design of the criminal."

But, Monseigneur, your pretty mouche was a downright monster.”

“Oh! as to her, I am quite willing to consign her to your tender mercy. She is now a furious royalist. She goes to the Tuileries, has interviews with Count de Blacas, cajoles the Duke de Richelieu and denounces me .... But I see,” pursued the ex-minister, “that my story has saddened you. I will tell you another, which though, perhaps, not more cheering, is certainly more extraordinary.

One day, I received a letter from a lady .. the perfume and the manner in which it was folded, assured me that it was a lady's letter. The writer implored me not, indeed, to go in person, (that was a thing not to be expected, but to send some trustworthy person, who possessed my entire confidence. An affair of the utmost importance was to be communicated to me, but the writer distinctly added that it was nothing of a political nature.

“I confess that this note excited my curiosity; and, though at the risk of compromising the gravity of my official character, I felt inclined to enter upon the adventure, especially as a very trustworthy and confidential person was required. I determined to go, and in such a garb as would preclude the chance of my being recognised:-I have oftener than once disguised myself so as to defy the recognition of even my intimate acquaintance.

oo T'he place of rendezvous was a house in the humble

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