rounding confusion. The first word that I could make out was "education." Helped by that hint, I trusted to guess work to guide me in speaking to him. It was necessary to be positive, or he would have lost all faith in me.
"Well?" he said, impatiently.
"Well," I answered, "you have something to say to me about the education which you have given to your daughters."
"Don't put them together!" he cried. "Dear, patient, sweet Eunice must not be confounded with that she- devil-----"
"Hush, hush, Mr. Gracedieu! Badly as Miss Helena has behaved, she is your own child."
"I repudiate her, sir! Think for a moment of what she has done--and then think of the religious education that I have given her. Heartless! Deceitful! The most ignorant creature in the lowest dens of this town could have done nothing more basely cruel. And this, after years on years of patient instruction on my part! What is religion? what is education? I read a horrible book once (I forget who was the author); it called religion superstition, and education empty form. I don't know; upon my word, I don't know that the book may not--Oh, my tongue! Why don't I keep a guard over my tongue? Are you a father, too? Don't interrupt me. Put yourself in my place, and think of it. Heartless, deceitful, and my daughter. Give me the pocketbook; I want to see which memorandum comes first."
He had now wrought himself into a state of excitement, which relieved his spirits of the depression that had weighed on them up to this time. His harmless vanity always, as I suspect, a latent quality in his kindly nature, had already restored his confidence. With a self-sufficient smile he consulted his own unintelligible entries, and made his own wild discoveries. "Ah, yes, 'M' stands for Minister; I come first. Am I to blame? Am I--God forgive me my many sins--am I heartless? Am I deceitful?"
"My dear Minister, not even your enemies could say that!"
"Thank you. Who comes next?" He consulted the book again. "Her mother, her sainted mother, comes next. People say she is like her mother. Was my wife heartless? Was the angel of my life deceitful?"
("That," I thought to myself, "is exactly what your wife was--and exactly what reappears in your wife's child.")