shining in the halo thrown over him by her own self-delusion. Nothing of this sort is to be said for me. I see Philip as he is. My penetration looks into the lowest depths of his character--when I am not in his company. There seems to be a foundation of good somewhere in his nature. He despises and hates himself (he has confessed it to me), when Eunice is with him; still believing in her false sweetheart. But how long do these better influences last? I have only to show myself, in my sister's absence, and Philip is mine, body and soul. His vanity and his weakness take possession of him the moment he sees my face. He is one of those men--even in my little experience I have met with them--who are born to be led by women. If Eunice had possessed my strength of character, he would have been true to her for life.
Ought I not, in justice to myself, to have lifted my heart high above the reach of such a creature as this? Certainly I ought! I know it, I feel it. And yet, there is some fascination in loving him which I am absolutely unable to resist.
What, I ask myself, had fed the new flame which is burning in me? Did it begin with gratified pride? I might well feel proud when I found myself admired by a man of his beauty, set off by such manners and such accomplishments as his. Besides, might not the growth of this masterful feeling have been encouraged by the envy and jealousy stirred in me, when I found Eunice (my inferior in every respect) distinguished by the devotion of a handsomer lover, and having a brilliant marriage in view --while I was left neglected, with no prospect of changing my title from Miss to Mrs.? Vain inquiries! My wicked heart seems to have secrets of its own, and to keep them a mystery to me.
What has become of my excellent education?
I don't care to inquire; I have got beyond the reach of good books and righteous examples. I have gone to a new school, to study the subject of love. Among my other blameable actions there may now be reckoned disobedience to my father. I have been reading novels in secret.
At first I tried some of the famous English works, published at a price within the reach of small purses. Very well written, no doubt, but with one unpardonable drawback, so far as I am concerned. Our celebrated native authors address themselves to good people, or to penitent
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Publication information: Book title: The Legacy of Cain. Contributors: Wilkie Collins - Author. Publisher: John W. Lovell Company. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1891. Page number: 108.
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