"Quite right," said Mrs. Undercliff; "of course I had no idea you were going to marry Mr. Wardlaw. I made sure Mr. Penfold was the man."
Helen blushed higher still, but made no reply.
Mrs. Undercliff turned the conversation directly. "My son has given many hours to Mr. Hand's two letters, and he told me to tell you he is beginning to doubt whether Mr. Hand is a real person, with a real handwriting, at all.
"Oh, Mrs. Undercliff! Why, he wrote me two letters! However, I will ask Mr. Penfold whether Mr. Hand exists or not. When shall I have the pleasure of seeing you again?"
"Whenever you like, my dear young lady; but not upon this business of Penfold and Wardlaw. I have done with it forever; and my advice to you, miss, is not to stir the mud any more." And with these mysterious words the old lady retired, leaving Helen deeply discouraged at her desertion.
However, she noted down the conversation in her diary, and made this comment: People find no pleasure in proving an accused person innocent; the charm is to detect guilt. This day a good, kind friend abandons me because I will not turn aside from my charitable mission to suspect another person as wrongfully as he I love has been suspected.
_Mem.:_ To see, or make inquiries about Mr. Hand.
General Rolleston had taken a furnished house in Hanover Square. He now moved into it, and Helen was compelled to busy herself in household arrangements.