The Message (1858). Joseph Caraud (French, 1821-1905). Oil on canvas. The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

While a curious and somewhat apprehensive maid watches, an older woman, perhaps a mother, asks a younger woman, perhaps her daughter, for the piece of paper the latter is holding. The opened drawer of the table and the book on the floor indicate that the message was concealed in the book and found by accident. The pleading expression of the mother tells that the situation is serious.