Chapter 94762402

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Chapter NumberSECOND PERIOD (CONTINUED). XXXVI
Chapter TitleRELATED BY THE GOVERNOR.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article94762402
Full Date1888-08-18
Page Number17
Corrections0
Word Count6060
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleSouth Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1881 - 1889)
Trove TitleThe Legacy of Cain
article text

Iptattrax

THE LEGACY OF CAIK

By WILKIE COLLINS, Author of |!The Woman in White,' 'The Evil Genius/j &c, &c,

Published by special arrangement with the author. All rights reserve!.] SECOND PERIOD (Cominced) : EYEKTS IN THE FAMILY, RELATED BY THB GOVEBNOB,

Chaitbb. XXXVL — Related by the GOVEBKOE.

ITpr the moment the minister disap pofnted me. Without speaking, without even looking op, he took out his pocket-book and began to write in it. Constantly interrupted, -either by a trembling in the hand that held the pencil, or by a difficulty (as I imagined) in expressing thoughts imper fectly realised, his patience gave way —

lie dashed the book on the floor. ' My mind is gone !' he burst out. ' Oh, Father in Heaven, let death deliver me from a body without a mind ?' WJio could hear him and be guilty of the cruelty of preaching self-controls I picked up the pocket-book and offered to help him. '£-o you thick you can ?' he asked. ' 1 can at least try.' /'Good fellow! What ahould I do ?without you ? See, now ; here is my diffi culty, I have got so many things to say, I want to separate them, or else they will all run into each other. Look at the book,' zny poor friend said mournfully, 'they have run into each other in spite of me.' The entries proved to be nearly Incom prehensible. Here and there I discovered some scattered words, which showed them selves more or less distinctly in the midst of the surrounding confasion. The first word that I could make out was ' Educa tion.' Helped by that hint I trusted to guesswork to guide me in speaking to him. It was necessary to be positive, or he wonld Jiave lost all faith in me. ' Well V he said impatiently. ' Well,' I answered, 'you have some thing to say to me about the education -which you have given to your daughters.' ' Don' t^ put them together !' he cried. ?*' Dear patient sweet Eunice must not be confounded with that she-devil ? ' 'Hush, hush, Mr. Gracedien ! Badly as Miss Helena has behaved she is your own child.' - 'I repudiate her. eir. Think for a moment of what she has done — and then think of the religious education that I have given her. Heartless, deceitful! The most ignorant creature in the lowest -dens of this town could have done nothing mote basely cruel. And this after years ?on years of patient Christian instruction -on my part. What is religion ? What is education? I read a horrible book once (I forget who was the author) ; it -called religion superstition, and education -empty form. I don't know, upon my word I don't know that the book may not ? . Oh, my tongue. Why don't I .keep a guard over my tongue ? Are you a, father too ? Don't interrupt me. Put yourself in my place and think of it. Heartless, deceitful, and my daughter. ?Gire me the pocket-book : I want to see. 'which memorandum comeB firat.' He had now wrought himself Into a -state of excitement, which relieved his spirits of the depression that had weighed on them up to this time. His harmless -vanity, always as I suspect a latent quality in hto kindly nature, had already restored Ms confidence. With a self-sufficient smile he consulted his own unintelligible ?entries, and made his own wild discoveries. ?*Ah, yes; *M' stands for minister: I ?come first. Am I to blame 1 Am I — Qod forgive me my many sins — am I heartless ? Am I deceitful T 'My dear minister, not even your enemies conld say that.' 'i&aukyou. Who comes. next?' He -consulted the Jjook again. ' Her mother, her sainted mother, comes next. People say site £a like her mother. Was my wife lieartJeEB? Was the angel of my life cleceijBful ?' ('That,' I thought to myself, ''is

exactly what your wife waa and exactly what reappears in your wife's child.') *c Where does her wickedness come from?' he went on. 'Kot from her mother ; not from me ; not from a neglected education.' He suddenly stepped up to me and laid his hands on my 6houlders ; hia voice dropped to hearse, moaning, awe -struck tones. ' Shall I tell you what it is ? A posses Blon of the devil. Now, listen to me ; I have made devils my study. There are n;ar.y of them. Let us consider. Of the hundred million invisible devils in posses f-ioD of lost souls all over the world, how aie we to identify the devil that is in my daughter ?' It was so evidently desirable to prevent at;y coLiii.uaiion of such a train of thought as this that I could fee! no hesita tion in interrupting him *' Wiil you hear what I have to 3iy V I asifd blautly. idifl humor changed again ; he made ii:e a low bow a»d went back to his chair. ' 1 will hear you with pleasure,' he an swered politely. ' You are the most eloquent man 1 know, with on3 exception — ir'yfelf. Of course, myself.' *' It is mere waste of time, 'I continued. ' to regxet the excellent education which ycur daughter has misused ' ^taking that reply, 1 was tempted to add another word of truth. A*l education is at the mercy of two powerful counter influences ; the influence of temperament, and the in fluence of circumstances. But this was philosophy. How could I expect him to submit to philosophy '( ' What we kaow of Bliss Helena, ;1 I went on, 'muss be enough for us. She has plotted, and she mcanc to succeed. Stop her.' 'Just my idta,' he declared firmly. 11 1 refuse my consent to that abominable m arris ge.'' In the popular phrase. I shuck while the iron was hot. * ' Yon mu3t do more than that, sir,' 1 told him His vanity suddenly took the alarm — I was leadicg him rather too undisguUediy. He banded his book back to me. *' You wi'l find,' he said loftily, ' that I hare put it ail down there.' 1 pretended to find it, and read the supposed entry to this effect : — ' After what elie has already done, Helena is capable of marrying in defiance of my wishes and commands. This mn3t be con sidered, and provided against.' So far I had succeeded in nattering him. Bat when ('Me king of his paternal authority) I alluded next to his daughter's age, his eyes rested on me with a look of down right terror. * ' Ko more of that,' he said. ' ! I won't talk of the girls' ages even with you.'5 What did he mean ? It was useless to ask. I went on with the matter in hand — still deliberately speaking to him, as I might have spoken to a man with an in tellect as clear as my own. In my ex perience this practice generally stimulates a weak intelligence to do its best. We all know how children receive talk that Is lowered, or books that are lowered, to their presumed level. ?' I shall take it for granted,' I con tinued, ' that Miss Helena is still under jour lawful authority. She can only arrive at her ends by means of a runaway marriage. In that case much depends on the man. You told me you couldn't help liking him. This was, of course, before you* knew of the infamous mauner in which he has behaved. You must have changed your opinion now.' He seemed to be at a loss how to reply. ' i am afraid,' he said, ' the young niaa was drawn into it by Helena ' Here was Miss Jillgall's apology for Philip Dunboyne repeated in other words. Despislngaud detesting the fellow as I did, I was forced to admit mj self, that he muse be recommended by personal attractions which it would be necesaary to reckon with. I tried to get some more informa tion from Mr. Gracedieu. 'The excuse you have just made for him,' I resumed, 'implies that he is a weak man ; easily persuaded, easily led.' Tiie minister answered by nodding his head. . *' Such weakness as that,' I persisted, 'is a vice in itself. It has led already, sir, to the saddest results.' Be admitted this by another nod. ' I don't wish to shock you, Mr. Grace dien ; but I must recommend employing the means that present themselves. You must practice on this man's weakness for the sake of the good that may come of it. I hear he is in London with his father. Try the strong Influence and write to his father. There is another reason besides for doirgthis. It is quite possible that the truth has been concealed from Mr. Dunboyne the elder. Take care that he is informed of what has really happened ; and I believe he will act in this matter like an honorable and high-minded man. That was my im pression of his character, produced by a

correspondence which I had with him some years since. Are you looking for pen, ink, and paper ? Let me offer you the writing materials which I use in travelling.' I placed them before him. He took up the pen ; he arranged the papers ; he was eager to begin. After writing a few words he stopped — reflected — tried again — stopped again — tore up the little that he had done— and began a new letter, ending in the same miserable, result. It was impossible to witness his helpleBBns&s, to see how pitiably patient he was over his own in capacity, and to let the melancholy spectacle go on. I proposed to write the lett r j authenticating it, of course, by his signature. When he allowed me to take the pen he turned away his face, ashamed to let me Bee what he suffered. Was this the same man whose great nature had so nobly asserted itself in the condemned cell 1 Poor mortality. The letter was easily written. 1 had only to Inform Mr. Dunboyne of his son's conduct ; repeating, in the strongest language that I could use, what Mies Jillgall had related to me. Arrived at the conclusion, I contrived to make Mr. Gracedieu express himself in these strong terms — 'I protest against the marriage in. justice to you, sir, as well, as to myself. We can neither of us consent to be accomplices in an act of domestic treason of the basest kind.' In silence the minister read the letter and . attached his signature to it. In silence he rose and took my arm. I asked if he wished to go to his room. He only replied by a Bign. I offered to Bit with him and try to cheer him. Gratefully he pressed my hand ; gently he put me back from the door. Crushed by the miserable discovery of the decay of his own faculties ! What could I do ? what could I say ? Nothing ! Mies Jillgall was In the drawing-room. With the necessary explanations I showed her the letter. She read it .with breath less interest. 'It terrifies one to think how much depends on old Mr. Dunboyne,' she said. ' ' You know him. What sort of man is he ?' 1 could only repeat what I had already said to the minister. Miss Jillgall possessed treasures of in formation to which 1 could lay no claim. Mr. Dunboyne, she told me, was a scholar and a writer, and a rich man. He views on marriage were liberal in the extreme. Let his son find good principles, good temper, and good looks in a wife and he would promise to find the money. 'I get these particulars,' said Miss Jillgall, 'from dear Euneece. They are surely encouraging ? That Helena may carry out Mr. Dunboyne's views in her personal appearance is, t regret to say, what I can't deny. . But as te the other qualifi cations how hopeful is the prospect ! Good principles and good temper. Ha, ha ! Helena has the principles of Jezebel and the temper of Lady Macbeth.' After dashing off this striking sketch of character the fair artist ;asked to look at my letter again, and observed that the address was -wanting. 'I can eet this right for you,' she resumed, ' thanks, as before, to my sweet Euneece. And (don't be in a

hurry) I can make myself useful in another way. Oh, how I do enjoy making myself useful. If you trust your letter to the basket in the hall Helena's lovely eyes — capable of the meanest conceivable actions — are sure to take a peep at the address. In that case do you think your letter would get to London ? I am afraid you detect a Taint infusion of spitefulness in that question. Oh, for shame. I'll poet the letter myself.' Chapter X .XX VII. For some reason, which my unassisted penetration vraa unable to disc-over, M-.33 He'era Gracedieu kept out of my way. At dinner on the day of my arrival, at.d at breakfast on the nest morning, she was present of course, ready to make herself agreeable in a modest way, arid provided with the necas sary supply of cheerful small talk. Bat the meal having come to an end she had her domestic txcuse ready, and unosten tatiously disappeared like a well-bred young lady. 1 never met her on tile stairs, never found myself intruding on her in the drawicg-rjom, never caught her gttting out of my way in the garden. As much at a loss for an explanation of tbeee nijsteries as I was Miss Jiilgall's interest in nay welf&re led her to caution me in a vague arid general v^ay. ' Take my word for it, dear Mr. Governor, she has some design on you. Will you allow an insignificant old maid to offer a suggestion ? Oh, thank you ; I will venture to adviee. Please look back at yoor experience of the very worat female prisoner you ever had to deal with — and D9 guided accordingly if Helena catches you at a private interview.' In less than half an hour after wards Helena caught me. I was writing in my room when the maidservant came in with a message — ' Miss Helena's compliments, sir, and would you please spare her half ars hour downstairs '{' My first excuse was of course that I was engaged. This was disposed of by a second me&eage, provided beforehand, no donbt, for an anticipated refusal — 'Miss Helena wished me to say, sir, that her time is your time.' I was still obstinate ; 1 pleaded next that my day was filled up. A third message had evidently been pre pared, even for this emergency — 'Mis3 Helena will regret, air, having the plaa Bure deferred, but she will leave you to make your own appointment for to morrow.' Persistency so inveterate a3 this led to a result which Mr. Gracedieu:s cauticus daughter had not perhaps con templated ; it put me on my guard. There seemed to be a chance, to say the least of it, that I might serve Eunice's interests if I discovered what the enemy had to say. I locked up my writing — declared myself incapable of putting Miss Helena to needkss inconvenience — and followed the maid to the lower floor of the house. The room to which I was conducted proved to be empty. I looked roand me. If 1 had been told that a man lived there who was absolutely indifferent to appearances I should have concluded that bis views were falthfnlfy represented by his place of abode. The chairs and tables reminced me of a railway waiting- room. The shabby little bookcase was the mate recoid of a life indifferent to literature. The carpet was of that dreadful drab color, still the cherished favorite of the average English mind in spite of every protest that can be entered against it on behalf of art. The ceiling, recently white? washed, made my eyes ache when they looked at it. On either side of the window flaccid green curtains hung help lessly, with nothing to loop them up. The writing-desk and the paper-case, viewed as specimens of woodwork, recalled the ready-made bedrooms on show in cheap shops. The books, mostly in slate-colored bindings, were devoted to the literature which is called religious ; I only discovered three worldly publications amoBgthem — 'Domestic Cookery,' 'Eti- quette for Ladies,' and ' Hints on the Breeding of Poultry.' An ugly little clock, ticking noisily in a black case', and two candlesticks of base metal placed on either side of it, completed the ornaments of the chimney piece. Neither pictures nor prints hid the barrenness of the walls. I saw no needlework and no flowers. The one object in the place which showed any pretensions to beauty was a looking-glass in an elegant gilt frame — sacred to vanity, and worthy of the office that it filled. Such was Helena Gracedieu's sitting room. I really could not help thinking — How like her ! ? She came in with a face perfectly adapted to the circumstances — pleased and smilfog ; amiably deferential in con sideration of the claims of her father's guest ; and to my surprise, in some degree BusgeBtive of one of those incorrigible female prisoners to whom Miss Jillgall had referred me when she offered a word of advice. 'How kind of you to come so soon. Excuse my receiving you in my house- - keepicg-room ; we shall not be interrupted here. Very plainly furnished is it not ? I dislike ostentation and display. Orna ments are out of place in a room devoted to domestic necessities. I hate domestic necessities. You notice the looking^gla&a ? It's a present. I should never have put such a thing up. Perhaps my vanity ex cuses it.' She pointed the last remark by a look at herself in the glass ; using It while she despised it. Yes ; there was a handsome face paying her its reflected compliment — but not bo well matched as it might have been by a handsome figure. Her feet were too large ; her shoulders were too high : the graceful undulations of a well made girl were absent when she walked ; and her boBom was, to my mind, unduly developed for her tune of life. She sat down by me with her back to the light. Happening to be opposite to the window, I offered her the advantage of a clear view of my face. She waited for me, and I waited for her— and there was an awkward pause before we spoke. She aet the example. ' Ien't it curious ?' she remarked. ' When two people have something par ticular to &ay to each other, and nothing to hinder them, they never seem to know how to Bay it. You are the oldest, elr. Why don't you begin ?' ' Because I have nothing particular to say.' ' In plain words, you mean that I must begin ¥' 'If you please.' ' Very well. I want to know whether I have given you (and Mlsa Jillgall, of course), as much time as you want, and aa many opportunities as you could desire 1' ' Pray go on, Miss Helena.' ' Have I not said enough already ?' 'Uoi enough, I regret to Bay, to con vey your meaning to me.' She drew her chair a little farther away from me ' I am sadly disappointed,' she said. ' I had such a high opinion of your perfect candor. I thought to myaelf there is such a striking expression of frankness in his face. Another illusion gone! I hope you won't think I am offended if I say a bold word. I am only a young girl, to be sure ; but I am not quite such a fool as you take me for. Dp you really think I don't know that Miss Jillgall has been telling yon everything that Is bad about me— putting every mis take that I have made, every fault that I have committed, in the worst possible point of view 1 And you have listened to her— quite naturally ! And you are prejudiced, strongly prejudiced, against me — what else could you be under the circumstances ! I don't complain ; I have purposely kept out of your way, and out of Miss Jillgall's way; in short, I have afforded you every facility, as the prospec tuses eay. I only want to know if my turn has come at last. Once more, have I given you time enough and opportunities enough ?' ' A great deal more than enough.' 'Do you mean that you have made up your mind about me without stopping to inink ?'

'That is exactly what I mean. An act of treachery, Miss Helena, is au act of treachery ; no honest person need hesitate to condemn it. I am sorry yon een.t for me.' I got up to go. With an ironical ges ture of remonstrance she signed to me to eit down again.' 'Must I remind you. dear sir, of oar famous native virtue % Falrplay is surely due to a yonng person who has nobody to take her part '( Yon talked of treachery just now. 1 deny the treachery. Please give me a hearing ' I returned to my chair. lOr would you prefer waiting,' slie went en, ' till my sister comas here later in the day, and continues what Miaa Jiilgsll has begun, with the greit ad vantoge of being yenng and nice look irg?' When the female mind aots into this state Eo-Tviae man answers the female questions. ' Am I $& take silence aa meaning yes ?' Miss Helena enquired. I be ggtd her to interpret my silence in the sense most agreeable to herself. This naturally encouraged her. She made a proposal — ' Do you mine chanaiag places, sir ?:- ' JuBt as yon like, Mus Helena.'' We changed chairs) ; tlfe light now fell full on her face. Had she deliberately challenged nie to look-into her secret mind if I eou'd? Anything like the stark in seriEibility of that yourg girl to every retirement of fetlirg, to every becoming doubt of herself, to every customary timidity of her age and sex in the prese ace of a man who had not disguised his un favorable opinion of her, I never met with in all my experience of the world and of women. ' I wish to be quite mistress of myself,' she explained ; ' l your face, for some reason wlich I really don't kaow, irritates me. The fact is, I have grea1: pride in keeping my temper. Please make allowances. New about Miss JiJgall. I suppose she told you how my sister fir3t met with Philip Dunboyne T' 'Yes.' 'She also mentioned, perhaps, that he was a highly- cultivated man ?' II She did.' 'Now we shall get on. When Philip came to our town here, and aaw me for the fiist time — Do you object to my spaak ing familiarly of him by his Christian oarre '{' 'in the case of anyone eke In your position. Bliss Helena, I ahould venture to cali it bad taste.' i was provoked into saying that. It failed entirely as a well meant effort in the way of implied reproof. Miaa Helena smiled. 'Ygu grant me a liberty which yon wculd not concede to another girl.' Taat was how she viewed it. ' We are getting on better already. To return to what I was sayirg. When Philip first saw me — I have it from himself, mind — he felt that I should have been his choice if he had met with me before he met with my &ieter. Do you blame him V 'If you will take my ad vies,' I said, ' you will not enquire too closely into my opinion of Mr. Philip Dunboyne.' ' Perhaps you don't wish me to go on V she suggested. 'On the contrary ; pray go on, if you like.' After that concession she was amia bility itself. ' Oh, yes,' she assured me, 'that's easily done;' and she went on accordingly. 'Philip having informed me of the state of his affections, I naturally followed his example. In fact, we exchanged confessions. Oar marriage engagement followed aa a matter of course. Do you blame me ?' ' Go on.' ' 1 have no more to say.' She made that ameziug reply frith, such perfect composure that I -beaap $o fea? there must have been som&. ^MPl^^ standlng between us. ' Is that really aff^ you have to say for yourself?'1 I per sisted. Her patience with me was niosi exemp lary. She lowered herself to *ay level. Not trusting to words only on this occa sion, she (bo to say) beat her meaning into my head by gesticulating on her fingers, as if ehe was educating a. child. *' Philip and I,' she began, ' are the victims of an accident which kept us apart when we otlght to have met together — we are not responsible for an accident.' She Impressed this on me by touching her forefinger. 'Philip and I fell In love with each other at first BlghT-^$fferare-~not responsible for the feelings implanted in our natures by an all- wise Providence.' Slie assisted me in understanding this by touching her middle finger. ' Philip and I owe a duty to each other, .aud accept a responsibility under those circumstances — the responsibility of getting married.' A touch on her third finger and an in dulgent bow announced that the lesson was ended. ' I am not a clever .man like you,' she modestly acknowledged, 'but I ask you to help us, when yois next see my father, with some confidence. You know exactly what to say to nimby this time. Nothing has been forgo&en.' 'Pardon me,' I said, **a person has been forgotten.' - ' ' Indeed ? What person ?' 'Your sister.' A little perplexed at first, Miss Helena reflected, and recovered herself. 'Ah, yes,' she said ; 'I was afraid I might be obliged to trouble yon for an ex planation—I see it now. You are Bhocked (very properly) when feelings j»f enmity exist between near relationst^^fwi w'6h to be assured that I bear no malica to wards Eunice. She is violent, she is sulky, she Is stupid, she is selfish ; and and she cruelly refuses to live in the same house with me. Make your mind easy, eir, I forgive my sister.' ; Let me not attempt to disgalae it — Miss Helena Gracedieu confounded jboh. Ordinary audacity is one of those forms of it solence which mature experience dis misses with contempt. This girl's audacity struck down all resistance for one shocking reason — it was unquestionably sincere. Strong conviction of her own virtue stared at me in her proud and steady eyes. At that time I was not aware of what I have learnt since. The horrid hardening of her moral sense had been accomplished by herself. In her diary there has been found the confession of a secret course of reading — with supple ? mentary reflections flowing from it, which need only to be described as worthy of their source. A person capable of repentance and reform would, in her place, have seen that ehe had disgusted me. Not a suspicion of this occurred to Miss Helena. 'I see you are embarrassed,' she remarked, ' and I am at no Ioes to account for it. You are too polite to acknowledge that I have not made a friend of you yet. Oh, I mean to do it !' '2So,' I said, 'I think not.' ' We shall see,' she replied. ' Sooner or later you -will find yourself saying a kind word to my father for Philip and me.' She roBe and took a tarn in the room, and stopped at the window, eyeing me attentively. 'Are you thinking of Eunice ?' she asked. 'Yes.' *' She has your sympathy, I sunpoae 1' ' My heartfelt sympathy.' 'I needn't ask how I stand in your estimation after that. Pray express your self freely. Your looks confess ii^yon view me Tirlth a feeling of aversion.' ' I. view you with a feeling of horror.' The exasperating influences of her language, her looks, and her tones would, aa I venture to think, have got to Ihe end of another man's self -control before this. Any way, ehe had at last Irritated me into speaking as strongly as I felt. What I said had been so plainly (perhaps so rudely) expreased.'that misin terpretation of it seemed to t-e impossible. She mistook me, nevertheless. The most mereilc-ss disclosure of the dreary side of human destiny is surely to be found iu the failure of wordB, spoken .or

written, so to answer their purpose that we can trust them in our attempts to communicate with each other. Bvea when lie seems to be connected by the nearest and dearest relations with his fellow mortals what a solitary creature, tried by the test of sympathy, the human being really is in the teeming world that ha inhabits. Affording one more example of the impotence of human language to speak for itself, my misinterpreted words had fcund their way to the one sensitive place in Helena Gracedieu's impenetrable nature, She betrayed it in the quivering aiid flushirg of her hard face, aad in the appeal to the lookirg- glass which escaped her eyes the next moment. My innocent reply hac coined the idea of a covers iiiscl-. acdi eased to nor handsome face. I'l other wcrcJs I had wonrdt-d her vanity. D.-iven by ieaentme.ifc tut came the. eecret dia tiust ot me v-l.dch had bepii !u:kin2 ia that cold heart frcui th« moment whan vre first met. ' I inspire y an with horror, a«3 Eunice irspires you with compa3siou,' she said. 'That, Kr Governor. i3 not natural.' '? May I aak why ? ' ' You know why.'' ' No.' ' You will have it ?' 'I want an explanati-m, Miss Helena, if thfit is what you mean.' ' Take your explanation, then ! You are not the stranger yon. are aaid to be to my sister and to me. Your interest in Eunice is a personal interest of some kind. 1 don't preteud to gnos3 what it is. As for myself, it is plain that somebody else has been setting you againBt me before Miss -Tillgall got possession of your private ear.' In alluding to Eunice she had blun dered, BlraDgely enough, on something like the truth. But when she spoke of herself, the headlong malignity of her euspicioDE— making every allowance for the anger that had hurried her Into them — Eeenntd to call for some little protest in tha interests of common sense. I told her that she was completely mistaken. ' ' I am completely right, ' she answered. ' I saw it.' ' Saw what ?' ' Saw you pretending to be a stranger tome.' ' When did I do that ?' 'Yon did it when we mtt at the station.' . The assertion waa too ridiculous for the preservation of any control over my own sense of humor. It was wrong, but it wa3 inevitable — I laughed. She looked at me with a fury revealing a concentra tion of evil passion in her which I had not eeen jet. I asked her pardon ; I begged her to think a little before she persisted in taking a view of my conduct unworthy of her and unjust to myself. 'Unjust to ycu!' Bhe burst out. 'Who are you? A man who haa driven your trade ha3 spies always at his com mand — yes ! and knows how to usa them. \ou were primed with private informa tion — you had, for all I know, a stolen photograph of me in your pocket — before ever ycu came to our town. Dj you still deny it ? Ob, sir, why degrade yourself by telling a lie ?' Kb such outrage as this had ever been itfiicted on me at any time in my life. My forbearance must, I suppose, have been more severely tried than I was aware of myself. With or without excuse for me I was weak enough to let a girl's spiteful tongue sting me, and worae still to let her see that I felt it. 'You shall have no second oppor tunity. Mias Gracedieu, of Insulting me.' With that foolish reply I opened the door violently and went out. She ran after me, triumphing in having roused the temper of a man old enough to have bten her grandfather, and caught me by the aria. ' Your own conduct has ex posed you,' (That was literally how she fiDresBBed herself). 'I saw it in yoar , eyes when we met at the station. Yon, the stranger — you, who allowed poor igno rant me to Introduce myself — you knew ni3 all the time, knew me by sight 1' 1 shock her hand off with an. incon siderate roughness humiliating to re member. 'It's false!' I cried. 'I knew you by your likeness to your mother.' The moment tha words had passed my Jips I came to my senses again ,* I re membered what fatal words they might prove to be if they reached the minister's ears. Heard only by his daughter, my reply seemed to cool the heat of her angsr in an instant. '?So you knew my mother?' she said. ' My father never told us that when he spoke of your being such a very old friend of his. Strange, to say the least of it.' I was wise enough — now when wisdom had come too late — not to attempt to ex plain myaelf, acd not to give her an op portunity of saving more. ' We are neither of us iu a state of mind,' I an swered, ' to allow thi3 interview to con tinue. I most try to recover my com posure ; and I leave you to do the same.' In the solitude of my room I was able to look my position fairly in the face. Mr. Gracedieu's wife had come to me in the long past time without her hus band's knowledge. Tempted to a cruel resolve by theruaternal triumph of having an infant of her own she had resolved to rid herself of the poor little rival in her husb&scLs fatherly affection by consigning the actopled child to the keeping of a charitable asylum. She had dared to ask me to help her, I had kept the secret of her shameful visit, I cau honestly say, for the minister's sake. And now, long after time had doomed those events to oblivion, they were revived — and revived by me. Thanks to my folly Mr. Grace dieu's daughter knew what I had con cealed from Mr. Gracedieu himself. - - What course did respect for my friend and respect for myself counsel me to take ? I could only see before me a choice of two evils. To wait for events with the too certain prospect of a * vindictive betrayal of my indiscretion by Helena Gracedieu ; or to take the initiative into my own hands, and risk consequences which I might regret to .the end- of my life by making my confession to the minister. Before I had decided somebody knocked at the door. It was the maid-servant again. Was it possible she had been sent by Helena? ' Another message ?' 'Yea, sir. My master wishes to see you.' (To be continued, )