fold tightly over my arm. Waving the women away, I informed，
Marguerite staggered as if she had received a heavy blow. "My God! a letter from the Marquis de Valorsay!" she thought.
It was evident that the estimable lady was expecting this missive by the eagerness with which she sprang out of bed and opened the door. And Marguerite heard her say to the servant in her sweetest voice: "A thousand thanks, my child! Ah! this is a great relief, I have heard from my brother-in-law at last. I recognize his hand- writing." And then the door closed again.
Standing silent and motionless in the middle of her room, Marguerite listened with that feverish anxiety that excites the perceptive faculties to the utmost degree. An inward voice, stronger than reason, told her that this letter threatened her happiness, her future, perhaps her life! But how could she convince herself of the truth of this presentiment? If she had followed her first impulse, she would have rushed into Madame Leon's room and have snatched the letter from her hands. But if she did this, she would betray herself, and prove that she was not the dupe they supposed her to be, and this supposition on the part of her enemies constituted her only chance of salvation.
If she could only watch Madame Leon as she read the letter, and gain some information from the expression of her face; but this seemed impossible, for the keyhole was blocked up by the key, which had been left in the lock on the other side. Suddenly a crack in the partition attracted her attention, and finding that it extended through the wall, she realized she might watch what was passing in the adjoining room. So she approached the spot on tiptoe, and, with bated breath, stooped and looked in.
In her impatience to learn the contents of her letter, Madame Leon had not gone back to bed. She had broken the seal, and was reading the missive, standing barefooted in her night-dress, directly opposite the little crevice. She read line after line, and word after word, and her knitted brows and compressed lips suggested deep concentration of thought mingled with discontent. At last she shrugged her shoulders, muttered a few inaudible words, and laid the open letter upon the rickety chest of drawers, which, with two chairs and a bed, constituted the entire furniture of her apartment.
"My God!" exclaimed Marguerite, with bated breath, "if she would only forget it!"
But she did not forget it. She began to dress, and when she had finished she read the letter again, and then placed it carefully in one of the drawers, which she locked, putting the key in her pocket.
"I shall never know, then," thought Marguerite; "no, I shall never know. But I must know--and I will!" she added vehemently.
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