The Legacy of Cain HTML version

14. Helena's Diary
To-day I went as usual to the Scripture-class for girls. It was harder work than ever,
teaching without Eunice to help me. Indeed, I felt lonely all day without my sister. When
I got home, I rather hoped that some friend might have come to see us, and have been
asked to stay to tea. The housemaid opened the door to me. I asked Maria if anybody had
"Yes, miss; a lady, to see the master."
"A stranger?"
"Never saw her before, miss, in all my life." I put no more questions. Many ladies visit
my father. They call it consulting the Minister. He advises them in their troubles, and
guides them in their religious difficulties, and so on. They come and go in a sort of
secrecy. So far as I know, they are mostly old maids, and they waste the Minister's time.
When my father came in to tea, I began to feel some curiosity about the lady who had
called on him. Visitors of that sort, in general, never appear to dwell on his mind after
they have gone away; he sees too many of them, and is too well accustomed to what they
have to say. On this particular evening, however, I perceived appearances that set me
thinking; he looked worried and anxious.
"Has anything happened, father, to vex you?" I said.
"Is the lady concerned in it?"
"What lady, my dear?"
"The lady who called on you while I was out."
"Who told you she had called on me?"
"I asked Maria--"
"That will do, Helena, for the present."
He drank his tea and went back to his study, instead of staying a while, and talking
pleasantly as usual. My respect submitted to his want of confidence in me; but my
curiosity was in a state of revolt. I sent for Maria, and proceeded to make my own
discoveries, with this result: