The Legacy of Cain
20. Eunice's Diary
How long a time passed before my composure came back to me, I cannot remember now.
It seemed as if I was waiting through some interval of my life that was a mystery to
myself. I was content to wait, and feel the light evening air in the garden wafting
happiness over me. And all this had come from a kiss! I can call the time to mind when I
used to wonder why people made such a fuss about kissing.
I had been indebted to Maria for my first taste of Paradise. I was recalled by Maria to the
world that I had been accustomed to live in; the world that was beginning to fade away in
my memory already. She had been sent to the garden in search of me; and she had a word
of advice to offer, after noticing my face when I stepped out of the shadow of the tree:
"Try to look more like yourself, miss, before you let them see you at the tea-table."
Papa and Miss Jillgall were sitting together talking, when I opened the door. They left off
when they saw me; and I supposed, quite correctly as it turned out, that I had been one of
the subjects in their course of conversation. My poor father seemed to be sadly anxious
and out of sorts. Miss Jillgall, if I had been in the humor to enjoy it, would have been
more amusing than ever. One of her funny little eyes persisted in winking at me; and her
heavy foot had something to say to my foot, under the table, which meant a great deal
perhaps, but which only succeeded in hurting me.
My father left us; and Miss Jillgall explained herself.
"I know, dearest Euneece, that we have only been acquainted for a day or two and that I
ought not perhaps to have expected you to confide in me so soon. Can I trust you not to
betray me if I set an example of confidence? Ah, I see I can trust you! And, my dear, I do
so enjoy telling secrets to a friend. Hush! Your father, your excellent father, has been
talking to me about young Mr. Dunboyne."
She provokingly stopped there. I entreated her to go on. She invited me to sit on her knee.
"I want to whisper," she said. It was too ridiculous--but I did it. Miss Jillgall's whisper
told me serious news.
"The minister has some reason, Euneece, for disapproving of Mr. Dunboyne; but, mind
this, I don't think he has a bad opinion of the young man himself. He is going to return
Mr. Dunboyne's call. Oh, I do so hate formality; I really can't go on talking of Mr.
Dunboyne. Tell me his Christian name. Ah, what a noble name! How I long to be useful
to him! Tomorrow, my dear, after the one o'clock dinner, your papa will call on Philip, at
his hotel. I hope he won't be out, just at the wrong time."
I resolved to prevent that unlucky accident by writing to Philip. If Miss Jillgall would
have allowed it, I should have begun my letter at once. But she had more to say; and she
was stronger than I was, and still kept me on her knee.