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CHAPTER XXIII.

A NOTE WHICH WENT ASTRAY.

MEANWHILE Jacques had undertaken to manage my little affair at Biloxi with tact and discretion. And this is how the fellow did it:

It seems that Jacques thought no harm of the note, and when he took it first to the house my lady was out. The honest fellow, doing his best to carry out my instructions, refused to leave it. When he returned, my lady worked, bent down amongst her flowers, in the little garden beside their cottage. The Chevalier stood some distance off, busied someway, Jacques knew not how, but with his face turned away from my messenger as he came up. Jacques handed the note to my lady through the fence, and she took it gently by the corner, fearing to soil it. She held it up to look at the name written upon it, and seeing it was her own, looked again more curiously at the writing. She did not know the hand. Then she gaily called to the Chevalier:

"Oh, Charles, come here; see what I have; it is a missive to your wife, and from some gay gallant, too. I do not know the writing. Do you come here and read it to me. My hands are so—" She held up two small white hands dabbled in the dirt.

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