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HELEN had complained to Arthur, of all people, that she was watched and followed; she even asked him whether that was not the act of some enemy. Arthur smiled, and said: "Take my word for it, it is only some foolish admirer of your beauty; he wants to know your habits, in hopes of falling in with you; you had better let me go out with you for the next month or so; that sort of thing will soon die away."
As a necessary consequence of this injudicious revelation, Helen was watched with greater skill and subtlety, and upon a plan well calculated to disarm suspicion; a spy watched the door, and by a signal unintelligible to any but his confederate, whom Helen could not possibly see, set the latter on her track. They kept this game up unobserved for several days, but learned nothing, for Helen was at a standstill. At last they got caught, and by a truly feminine stroke of observation. A showily dressed man peeped into a shop where Helen was buying gloves.
With one glance of her woman's eye she recognized a large breast-pin in the worst possible taste; thence her eye went up and recognized the features of her seedy follower, though he was now dressed up to the nine. She withdrew her eye directly, completed her purchase, and went home, brooding defense and vengeance.
That evening she dined with a lady who had a large acquaintance with lawyers, and it so happened that Mr. Tollemache and Mr. Hennessy were both of the party. Now, when these gentlemen saw Helen in full costume, a queen in form as well as face, coroneted with her island pearls, environed with a halo of romance, and courted by women as well as men, they looked up to her with astonishment, and made up to her in a very different style from that in which they had received her visit. Tollemache she received coldly; he had defended Robert Penfold feebly, and she hated him for it. Hennessy she received graciously, and, remembering Robert's precept to be supple as a woman, bewitched him. He was good-natured, able and vain. By eleven o'clock she had enlisted him in her service. When she had conquered him, she said, slyly, "But I ought not to speak of these things to you except through a solicitor."
"That is the general rule," said the learned counsel; "but in this case no dark body must come between me and the sun."
In short he entered into Penfold's case with such well-feigned warmth, to please the beauteous girl, that at last she took him by the horns and consulted.
"I am followed," said she.
"I have no doubt you are; and on a large scale; if there is room for another, I should be glad to join the train."
"Ha! ha! I'll save you the trouble. I'll meet you half way. But, to be serious, I am watched, spied and followed by some enemy to that good friend whose sacred cause we have undertaken. Forgive me for saying 'we.'"
"I am too proud of the companionship to let you off. 'We' is the word."
"Then advise me what to do. I want to retaliate. I want to discover who is watching me, and why. Can you advise me? Will you?"
The counsel reflected a moment, and Helen, who watched him, remarked the power that suddenly came into his countenance and brow.
"You must watch the spies. I have influence in Scotland Yard, and will get it done for you. If you went there yourself they would cross-examine you and decline to interfere. I'll go myself for you and put it in a certain light. An able detective will call on you. Give him ten guineas, and let him into your views in confidence; then he will work the public machinery for you."
"Oh, Mr. Hennessy, how can I thank you?"
"By succeeding. I hate to fail. And now your cause is mine."
Next day a man with a hooked nose, a keen black eye, and a solitary foible (Mosaic), called on Helen Rolleston, and told her he was to take her instructions. She told him she was watched, and thought it was done to baffle a mission she had undertaken; but, having got so far, she blushed and hesitated.
"The more you tell me, miss, the more use I can be," said Mr. Burt.
Thus encouraged, and also remembering Mr. Hennessy's advice, she gave Mr. Burt, as coldly as she could, an outline of Robert Penfold's case, and of the exertions she had made, and the small result.
Burt listened keenly, and took a note or two; and, when she had done, he told her something in return.
"Miss Rolleston," said he, "I am the officer that arrested Robert Penfold. It cost me a grinder that he knocked out."
"Oh, dear!" said Helen, "how unfortunate! Then I fear I cannot reckon on your services."
"Why not, miss? What, do you think I hold spite against a poor fellow for defending himself? Besides, Mr. Penfold wrote me a very proper note. Certainly for a parson the gent is a very quick hitter; but he wrote very square; said he hoped I would allow for the surprise and the agitation of an innocent man; sent me two guineas, too, and said he would make it twenty but he was poor as well as unfortunate; that letter has stuck in my gizzard ever since; can't see the color of felony in it. Your felon is never in a fault; and, if he wears a good coat, he isn't given to show fight."
"It was very improper of him to strike you," said Helen, "and very noble of you to forgive it. Make him still more ashamed of it; lay him under a deep obligation."
"If he is innocent, I'll try and prove it," said the detective. He then asked her if she had taken notes. She said she had a diary. He begged to see it. She felt inclined to withhold it, because of the comments; but, remembering that this was womanish, and that Robert's orders to her were to be manly on such occasions, she produced her diary. Mr. Burt read it very carefully, and told her it was a very promising case. "You have done a great deal more than you thought," he said. "You have netted the fish."
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