The Legacy of Cain HTML version

28. Helena's Diary
Looking at the last entry in my Journal, I see myself anticipating that the event of to-day
will decide Philip's future and mine. This has proved prophetic. All further concealment
is now at an end.
Forced to it by fate, or helped to it by chance, Eunice has made the discovery of her
lover's infidelity. "In all human probability" (as my father says in his sermons), we two
sisters are enemies for life.
I am not suspected, as Eunice is, of making appointments with a sweetheart. So I am free
to go out alone, and to go where I please. Philip and I were punctual to our appointment
this afternoon.
Our place of meeting was in a secluded corner of the town park. We found a rustic seat in
our retirement, set up (one would suppose) as a concession to the taste of visitors who are
fond of solitude. The view in front of us was bounded by the park wall and railings, and
our seat was prettily approached on one side by a plantation of young trees. No entrance
gate was near; no carriage road crossed the grass. A more safe and more solitary nook for
conversation, between two persons desiring to be alone, it would be hard to find in most
public parks. Lovers are said to know it well, and to be especially fon d of it toward
evening. We were there in broad daylight, and we had the seat to ourselves.
My memory of what passed between us is, in some degree, disturbed by the formidable
interruption which brought our talk to an end.
But among other things, I remember that I showed him no mercy at the outset. At one
time I was indignant; at another I was scornful. I declared, in regard to my object in
meeting him, that I had changed my mind, And had decided to shorten a disagreeable
interview by waiving my right to an explanation, and bidding him farewell. Eunice, as I
pointed out, had the first claim to him; Eunice was much more likely to suit him, as a
companion for life, than I was. "In short," I said, in conclusion, "my inclination for once
takes sides with my duty, and leaves my sister in undisturbed possession of young Mr.
Dunboyne." With this satirical explanation, I rose to say good-by.
I had merely intended to irritate him. He showed a superiority to anger for which I was
not prepared.
"Be so kind as to sit down again," he said quietly.
He took my letter from his pocket, and pointed to that part of it which alluded to his
conduct, when we had met in my father's study.
"You have offered me the opportunity of saying a word in my own defense," he went on.
"I prize that privilege far too highly to consent to your withdrawing it, merely because