Helen uttered an exclamation that was almost a scream. The inference took her quite by surprise. She looked at Mrs. Undercliff.
"He is right, I think," said the old lady.
"Right or wrong," said the expert, "the next step in the inquiry is to do what I said. But that demands great caution. You must write a short civil note to Mr. Hand, and just ask him some question. Let me see. Ask him what newspapers his extracts are from, and whether he has got any more. He will not tell you the truth; but no matter, we shall get hold of his handwriting."
"But, sir," said Helen, "there is no need for that. Mr. Hand sent me a note along with the extracts."
"The deuce he did. All the better. Any words in it that are in the forged note? Is Penfold in it, or Wardlaw?"
Helen reflected a moment, and then said she thought both those names were in it.
"Fetch me that note," said Undercliff, and his eyes sparkled. He was on a hot scent now.
"And let me study the genuine reports, and compare what they say with the forged ones," said Mrs. Undercliff.