The Legacy of Cain
15. Helena's Diary
If I am not a good girl, where is a good girl to be found? This is in Eunice's style. It
sometimes amuses me to mimic my simple sister.
I have just torn three pages out of my diary, in deference to the expression of my father's
wishes. He took the first opportunity which his cousin permitted him to enjoy of speaking
to me privately; and his object was to caution me against hastily relying on first
impressions of anybody--especially of Miss Jillgall. "Wait for a day or two," he said;
"and then form your estimate of the new member of our household."
The stormy state of my temper had passed away, and had left my atmosphere calm again.
I could feel that I had received good advice; but unluckily it reached me too late.
I had formed my estimate of Miss Jillgall, and had put it in writing for my own
satisfaction, at least an hour before my father found himself at liberty to speak to me. I
don't agree with him in distrusting first impressions; and I had proposed to put my
opinion to the test, by referring to what I had written about his cousin at a later time.
However, after what he had said to me, I felt bound in filial duty to take the pages out of
my book, and to let two days pass before I presumed to enjoy the luxury of hating Miss
On one thing I am determined: Eunice shall not form a hasty opinion, either. She shall
undergo the same severe discipline of self-restraint to which her sister is obliged to
submit. Let us be just, as somebody says, before we are generous. No more for to-day.
. . . . . . .
I open my diary again--after the prescribed interval has elapsed. The first impression
produced on me by the new member of our household remains entirely unchanged.
Have I already made the remark that, when one removes a page from a book, it does not
necessarily follow that one destroys the page afterward? or did I leave this to be inferred?
In either case, my course of proceeding was the same. I ordered some paste to be made.
Then I unlocked a drawer, and found my poor ill-used leaves, and put them back in my
Journal. An act of justice is surely not the less praiseworthy because it is an act of justice
done to one's self.
My father has often told me that he revises his writings on religious subjects. I may
harmlessly imitate that good example, by revising my restored entry. It is now a
sufficiently remarkable performance to be distinguished by a title. Let me call it:
Impressions of Miss Jillgall.