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in dreamy contemplation, spoke apparently of a man who has been relieved of some grave responsibility and enjoys the relaxation, yet, for all of that, he was listening most intently to what Serigny and I were talking of. Serigny was now fondling the instruments which were to be the restoration of his own and his brother's influence. His words were addressed to neither of us in particular.

"Here is the seal of Spain. Cellemare again, Egad! They are bold, or must have great confidence in their emissaries. Here, too, is Madame. Ah, my clever little lady, you have outdone your own cleverness at last. I fancy even the King's old love for his son's mother will not save you now. I would I knew what was in them."

"We can easily see, and close them snug again," ventured Jerome, but noting Serigny's frown, he turned it off with a laugh, "or so our friend Madame would advise."

"It thus became manifest he had not abandoned his idea of intercepting whatever might compromise Madame de Chartrain.

Serigny continued: "These must be placed before the King unopened by any of us. Yes, it's a risk," he caught Jerome's knotted brow of indecision, "I grant you it is a risk, for I know not what complications are here contained. I will myself seek the King, and with these am sure to gain his own ear."

Jerome all this while uttered no other word, nervously