HELEN asked Arthur Wardlaw why he was so surprised at the prayer-book being brought back. Was it worth twenty pounds. to any one except herself?
Arthur looked keenly at her to see whether she intended more than met the ear, and then said he was surprised at the rapid effect of his advertisement, that was all.
"Now you have got the book," said he, "I do hope you will erase that cruel slander on one whom you mean to honor with your hand."
This proposal made Helen blush and feel very miserable. Of the obnoxious lines some were written by Robert Penfold, and she had so little of his dear handwriting. "I feel you are right, Arthur," said she; "but you must give me time. Then, they shall meet no eye but mine; and on our wedding-day--of course--all memorials of one--" Tears completed the sentence.
Arthur Wardlaw, raging with jealousy at the absent Penfold, as heretofore Penfold had raged at him, heaved a deep sigh and hurried away, while Helen was locking up the prayer-book in her desk. By this means he retained Helen's pity.
He went home directly, mounted to his bedroom, unlocked a safe, and plunged his hand into it. His hand encountered a book; he drew it out with a shiver and gazed at it with terror and amazement.
It was the prayer-book he had picked up in the Square and locked up in that safe. Yet that very prayer-book had been restored to Helen before his eyes, and was now locked up in her desk. He sat down with the book in his hand, and a great dread came over him.
Hitherto Candor and Credulity only had been opposed to him, but now Cunning had entered the field against him; a master hand was co-operating with Helen.