The Legacy of Cain
31. Eunice's Diary
My restless nights are passed in Selina's room.
Her bed remains near the window. My bed has been placed opposite, near the door. Our
night-light is hidden in a corner, so that the faint glow of it is all that we see. What trifles
these are to write about! But they mix themselves up with what I am determined to set
down in my Journal, and then to close the book for good and all.
I had not disturbed my little friend's enviable repose, either when I left our bed-chamber,
or when I returned to it. The night was quiet, and the stars were out. Nothing moved but
the throbbing at my temples. The lights and shadows in our half-darkened room, which at
other times suggest strange resemblances to my fancy, failed to disturb me now. I was in
a darkness of my own making, having bound a handkerchief, cooled with water, over my
hot eyes. There was nothing to interfere with the soothing influence of the dose that I had
taken, if my father's medicine would only help me.
I began badly. The clock in the hall struck the quarter past the hour, the half-past, the
three-quarters past, the new hour. Time was awake--and I was awake with Time.
It was such a trial to my patience that I thought of going back to my father's room, and
taking a second dose of the medicine, no matter what the risk might be. On attempting to
get up, I became aware of a change in me. There was a dull sensation in my limbs which
seemed to bind them down on the bed. It was the strangest feeling. My will said, Get up--
and my heavy limbs said, No.
I lay quite still, thinking desperate thoughts, and getting nearer and nearer to the end that
I had been dreading for so many days past. Having been as well educated as most girls,
my lessons in history had made me acquainted with assassination and murder. Horrors
which I had recoiled from reading in past happy days, now returned to my memory; and,
this time, they interested instead of revolting me. I counted the three first ways of killing
as I happened to remember them, in my books of instruction:--a way by stabbing; a way
by poison; a way in a bed, by suffocation with a pillow. On that dreadful night, I never
once called to mind what I find myself remembering now--the harmless past time, when
our friends used to say: "Eunice is a good girl; we are all fond of Eunice." Shall I ever be
the same lovable creature again?
While I lay thinking, a strange thing happened. Philip, who had haunted me for days and
nights together, vanished out of my thoughts. My memory of the love which had begun
so brightly, and had ended so miserably, became a blank. Nothing was left but my own
horrid visions of vengeance and death.
For a while, the strokes of the clock still reached my ears. But it was an effort to count
them; I ended in letting them pass unheeded. Soon afterward, the round of my thoughts