In less than half an hour afterward, Helena caught me. I was writing in my room, when the maid-servant came in with a message: "Miss Helena's compliments, sir, and would you please spare her half an hour, downstairs?"

My first excuse was of course that I was engaged. This was disposed of by a second message, provided beforehand, no doubt, for an anticipated refusal: "Miss Helena wished me to say, sir, that her time is your time." I was still obstinate; I pleaded next that my day was filled up. A third message had evidently been prepared, even for this emergency: "Miss Helena will regret, sir, having the pleasure deferred, but she will leave you to make your own appointment for to-morrow." Persistency so inveterate as this led to a result which Mr. Gracedieu's cautious daughter had not perhaps contemplated; it put me on my guard. There seemed to be a chance, to say the least of it, that I might serve Eunice's interests if I discovered what the enemy had to say. I looked up my writing--declared myself incapable of putting Miss Helena to needless inconvenience--and followed the maid to the lower floor of the house.

The room to which I was conducted proved to be empty. I looked round me.

If I had been told that a man lived there who was absolutely indifferent to appearances, I should have concluded that his views were faithfully represented by his place of abode. The chairs and tables reminded me of a railway waiting-room. The shabby little bookcase was the mute record of a life indifferent to literature. The carpet was of that dreadful drab color, still the cherished fevorite of the average English mind, in spite of every protest that can be entered against it on behalf of art. The ceiling, recently whitewashed, made my eyes ache when they looked at it. On either side of the window flaccid green curtains hung helplessly, with nothing to loop them up. The writing-desk and the paper-case, viewed as specimens of woodwork, recalled the ready-made bedrooms on show in cheap shops. The books, mostly in slate-colored bindings, were devoted to the literature which is called religious; I only discovered three worldly publications among them--Domestic Cookery, Etiquette for Ladies, and Hints on the Breeding of Poultry. An ugly little clock, ticking noisily in a black case, and two candlesticks of base metal placed on either side of it, completed the ornaments of the chimney-piece. Neither pictures nor prints hid the barren-

-165-

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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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