robes, highly ornamented with metal and jewels, and their，
"He could no more deny his handwriting than he could if some one handed him the letter itself."
"And the operation will leave no trace on the original?"
A smile of triumph played upon Mademoiselle Marguerite's lips. It was as she had thought; the defensive plan which she had suddenly conceived was a good one. "One more question, sir," she resumed. "I am only a poor, ignorant girl: excuse me, and give me the benefit of your knowledge. This letter will be returned to its author to-morrow, and he will burn it. But afterward, in case of any difficulty--in case of a law-suit--or in case it should be necessary for me to prove certain things which one might establish by means of this letter, would one of your photographs be admitted as evidence?"
The photographer did not answer for a moment. Now he understood Mademoiselle Marguerite's motive, and the importance she attached to a facsimile. But this imparted an unexpected gravity to the service he was called upon to perform. He therefore wished some time for reflection, and he scrutinized Mademoiselle Marguerite as if he were trying to read her very soul. Was it possible that this young girl, with such a pure and noble brow, and with such frank, honest eyes, could be meditating any cowardly, dishonorable act? No, he could not believe it. In whom, or in what, could he trust if such a countenance deceived him?" My facsimile would certainly be admitted as evidence," he replied at last; "and this would not be the first time that the decision of a court has depended on proofs which have been photographed by me."
Meanwhile, his assistant had returned, bringing the necessary apparatus with him. When all was ready, the photographer asked her, "Will you give me the letter, madame?"
She hesitated for a second--only for a second. The man's honest, kindly face told her that he would not betray her, that he would rather give her assistance. So she handed him the Marquis de Valorsay's letter, saying, with melancholy dignity, "It is my happiness and my future that I place in your hands--and I have no fears."
He read her thoughts, and understood that she either dared not ask for a pledge of secrecy, or else that she thought it unnecessary. He took pity on her, and his last doubt fled. "I shall read this letter, madame," said he, "but I am the only person who will read it. I give you my word on that! No one but myself will see the proofs."
Greatly moved, she offered him her hand, and simply said, "Thanks; I am more than repaid."
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