"He was very much distressed. 'Destroy the ship my Helen was in,' said he. 'If I thought Wylie had done that, I'd kill him with my own hand, though I was hanged for it next minute.' I never saw the young fellow fire up so before. But when he came to think calmly over it a little while, he said: "I hope this slander will never reach my father's ears; it would grieve him deeply. I only laugh at it.' "
"Laugh at it! and yet talk of killing?"
"Oh, people say they laugh at a thing when they are very angry all the time. However, as you are a good girl, and mind what you are told, I'll read you an advertisement that will make you stare. Here is Joseph Wylie, who, you say, wrecked the _Proserpine,_ actually invited by Michael Penfold to call on him, and hear of something to his advantage."
"Dear me!" said Helen, "how strange! Surely Mr. Penfold cannot know the character of that man. Stop a minute! Advertise for him? Then nobody knows where he lives? There, papa. You see he is afraid to go near Arthur Wardlaw; he knows he destroyed the ship. What a mystery it all is! And so Mr. Penfold is at home, after all; and not to send me a single line. I never met with so much unkindness and discourtesy in all my life."
"Ah, my dear," said the general, "you never defied the world before, as you are doing now."
Helen sighed; but, presently recovering her spirit, said she had done without the world on her dear island, and she would not be its slave now.
As she was always as good as her word, she declined an invitation to play the lion, and, dressing herself in plain merino, went down that very evening to Michael Penfold's cottage.
We run thither a little before her, to relate briefly what had taken place there.