The pity of it is that I am so ignorant about some things. If I had been allowed to read novels, I might (judging by what papa said against them in one of his sermons) have felt sure of my own attractions; I might even have understood what Philip really thought of me. However, my mind was quite unexpectedly set at ease on the subject of my figure. The manner in which it happened was so amusing--at least, so amusing to me--that I cannot resist mentioning it.

My sister and I are forbidden to read newspapers, as well as novels. But the teachers at the girls' Scripture class are too old to be treated in this way. When the morning lessons were over, one of them was reading the newspaperto the other, in the empty school-room; I being in the passage outside, putting on my cloak.

It was a report of "an application made to the magistrates by the lady of his worship the mayor." Hearing this, I stopped to listen. The lady of his worship (what a funny way of describing a man's wife!) is reported to be a little too fond of notoriety, and to like hearing the sound of her own voice on public occasions. But this is only my writing; I had better get back to the report. "In her address to the magistrates, the mayoress stated that she had seen a disgusting photograph in the shop window of a stationer, lately established in the town. She desired to bring this person within reach of the law, and to have all his copies of the shameless photograph destroyed. The usher of the court was thereupon sent to purchase the photograph." On second thoughts, I prefer going back to my own writing; it is so uninteresting to copy other peoples' writing. Two of the magistrates were doing justice. They looked at the photograph--and what did it represent? The famous statue called the Venus de Medici! One of the magistrates took this discovery indignantly. He was shocked at the gross ignorance which would call the classic ideal of beauty and grace a disgusting work. The other one made polite allowances. He thought the lady was much to be pitied; she was evidently the innocent victim of a neglected education. Mrs. Mayor left the court in a rage, telling the justices she knew where to get law. "I shall expose Venus," she said, "to the lord chancellor."

When the Scripture class had broken up for the day, duty ought to have taken me home. Curiosity led me astray--I mean, led me to the stationer's window.

-84-

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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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