"Displeased, madam! I am highly honored by your visit--a lady who, I understand, is to be married to my worthy employer, Mr. Arthur. Pray be seated, madam."
Helen began in a low, thrilling voice, to which, however, she gave firmness by a resolute effort of her will.
"I am come to speak to you of one who is very dear to you, and to all who really know him."
"Dear to me? It is my son. The rest are gone. It is Robert."
"Yes, it is Robert," said she, very softly; then turning her eyes away from him, lest his emotion should overcome her, she said-- "He has laid me and my father under deep obligations."
She dragged her father in; for it was essential not to show Mr. Penfold she was in love with Robert.
"Obligations to my Robert? Ah, madam, it is very kind of you to say that, and cheer a desolate father's heart with praise of his lost son! But how could a poor unfortunate man in his position serve a lady like you?"
"He defended me against robbers, single-handed."