"None that I care to see, or that care to see me--except the nearest relation of all."

In those last words the miserable creature alluded to her only child, a little girl (an infant, I should say), who had passed her first year's birthday by it few months. The farewell interview was to take place on the mother's last evening on earth; and the child was now brought into my rooms, in charge of her nurse.

I had seldom seen a brighter or prettier little girl. She was just able to walk alone, and to enjoy the first delight of moving from one place to another. Quite of her own accord she came to me, attracted I dare say by the glitter of my watch-chain. Helping her to climb on my knee, I showed the wonders of the watch, and held it to her ear. At that past time, death had taken my good wife from me; my two boys were away at Harrow school; my domestic life was the lift of a lonely man. Whether I was reminded of the bygone days when my sons were infants on my knee, listening to the ticking of my watch--or whether the friendless position of the poor little creature who had lost one parent and was soon to lose the other by a violent death, moved me in depths of pity not easily reached in my later experience--I am not able to say. This only I know: My heart ached for the child while she was laughing and listening; and something fell from me on the watch which I don't deny might have been a tear. A few of the toys, mostly broken now, which my two children used to play with are still in my possession; kept, like my poor wife's favorite jewels, for old remembrance sake. These I took from their repository when the attraction of my watch showed signs of failing. The child pounced on them with her chubby hands, and screamed with pleasure. And the hangman was waiting for her mother--and more horrid still, the mother deserved it!

My duty required me to let the Prisoner know that her little daughter had arrived. Did that heart of iron melt at last? It might have been so, or it might not; the message sent back kept her secret. All that it said to me was: "Let the child wait till I send for her."

The Minister had consented to help us; I received him in another room. Having introduced his companion to me, the Chaplain considerately withdrew.

I had only to look at the Minister's face--pitiably pale and agitated--to see that he was a sensitive man, not always able to control his nerves on occasions which tried his

-7-

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The Legacy of Cain
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • First Period: 1858-1859. - Events in the Prison, Related by the Governor. 3
  • Chapter II 4
  • Chapter IV 7
  • Chapter VI 14
  • Chapter VIII 22
  • Chapter IX 26
  • Chapter X 30
  • Second Period: 1875. - The Girls and the Journals--Helena's Diary. 40
  • Chapter XIII - Eunice's Diary 46
  • Chapter XIV - Helena's Diary 59
  • Chapter XV - Helena's Diary 66
  • Chapter XVII 72
  • Chapter XVII - Eunice's Diary. 76
  • Chapter XIX 80
  • Chapter XX 84
  • Chapter XXI - Helena's Diary 89
  • Chapter XXII - Eunice's Diary. 93
  • Chapter XXIII 97
  • Chapter XXIV 100
  • Chapter XXV - Helena's Diary 104
  • Chapter XXVI 108
  • Chapter XXVIII - Helena's Diary 115
  • Chapter XXIX 121
  • Chapter XXX - Eunice's Diary. 127
  • Chapter XXXII - Events in the Family, Related by the Governor. 135
  • Chapter XXXIII - Related by the Governor 140
  • Chapter XXXIV 145
  • Chapter XXXV 151
  • Chapter XXXVI - Related by the Governor. 155
  • Chapter XXXVII 160
  • Chapter XXXVIII - Related by the Governor. 165
  • Chapter XXXIX 174
  • Chapter XLI - Related by the Governor. 182
  • Chapter XLII 188
  • Chapter XLIII 197
  • Chapter XLV 206
  • Chapter XLVI 213
  • Chapter XLVIII 217
  • Chapter XLIX 227
  • Chapter LI 233
  • Chapter LIII 240
  • Chapter LIV 248
  • Chapter LV 252
  • Chapter LVII 258
  • Chapter LVIII 262
  • Chapter LX 272
  • Chapter LXI 276
  • Last Period. 282
  • Chapter LXIII 289
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