Chapter 94767096

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Chapter NumberTHIRD PERIOD. LII
Chapter TitleHELENA'S DIARY RESUMED.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article94767096
Full Date1888-09-22
Page Number18
Corrections0
Word Count2108
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleSouth Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1881 - 1889)
Trove TitleThe Legacy of Cain
article text

THIRD PERIOD.

CHArTEE L1I. — Helena's Diaey Re sumed.

While my father remains in his present helpless condition, somebody must assume a position of command in this house. There cannot be a moment's doubt that I am the person. In my agitated state of mind, sometimes doubtful of PMUd. sometimes hopeful of

Mm, I find Mrs. Tenbruggen simply un endurable. A female doctor Is, under any circumstances, a creature whom I detest. She is, at hex very best, a bad imitation of a man, The medical rubber Is worse than this ; she is a bad imitation of a mountebank. Her grinning good-humor, adopted no doubt to please the fools who are her patients, and her impudent enjoy ment of hearing herself talk, make me re gret for the first time la my life that I am a young lady. If I belonged to the lowest order of the population I might take the first stick I could find and enjoy the luxury of giving Mrs. Tenbruggen a good beating. She literally haunts the house, en couraged of course by her wretched little dupe, Miss Jillgall. Only this morning I tried what a broad hint would do towards suggesting that her visits had better come to an end. '?Really, Mrs. Tenbruggen,' 1 said, 'I must request Mies Jillgall to moderate her eelfish enjoyment of your company, for your own sake. Your time is too valu able, in a professional sense, to be wasted on an idle woman who has no sympathy with your patients, waiting for relief per haps, and waiting in vain.' She listened to this, all smiles and good humor. 'My dear, do you know how I night answer you if I was an ill-natured woman ?' j

11 1 have no euslosity to hear it, Mrs. Tenbruggen.' *' I might aek yon,' she persisted, ' to allow me to mind my own business. But I am incapable of making an ungrateful return for the interest which you take in my medical welfare. Let me venture to ask if you understand the value of time V 'Are you going to say much more, Mra. bruggen ?' ' ' I am going to make a sensible remark, my child. If you feel tired, permit me — here is a chair. Father Time, dear Miss Gracedieu, has always been a good friend of mine because I know how to make the beBt use of Mm. The author of the f&mous saying tempus fugit (you under stand Latin, of course) was, I take leave to think, an idle man. The more I have to do the readier Time is to wait forme. Let me impress this on your mind by some interesting examples. The greatest con queror of the century — Napoleon — had time enough for everything. Tbe greatest novelist of the century — Sir Walter Scott ? — had time enough for everything. At my humble distance I imitate thoBe Illus trious men, and my patients never com plain of me.' ' Have you done ?' I asked. ' Yes, dear — for the present. ' 'You are a clever woman, Mrs. Ten bruggen— and you know it. You have an eloquent tongue, and you know it. But you are something else which you don't seem to be aware of. You are a bore.' She burst out laughing with the air of a woman who thoroughly enjoyed a good joke. I looked back when I left the room and saw the friend of Father Time in the easy chair opening our newspaper. ThlB is a specimen of the customary en counter of our wit?. I place It on record In my journal to excuse myself to myself. When she left ns at last, later in the day, I sent a letter after her to the hotel. Not having kept a copy of it let me present the substance, like a sermon, under three heads — 1 begged to be excused for speak ing plainly ; I declared that there was a total want of sympathy between ue on my side ; and I proposed that she should de* prive me of future opportunities of re ceiving her in this house. The reply arrived immediately in these terms — ' Your letter received, dear girl. I am not in the least angry ; partly because I am very fond of you, partly because I know that you will ask me to come back again. P.S.— Philip sends his love.' TMs hut piece of insolence was un questionably a lie. Philip detests her. They are both staying ab the same hotel. But I happen to know that he won't even look at her it they meet by accident on the stairs. People who can enjoy the melancholy spectacle. of human nature in a state of degradation would be at a loss which ex Mbition to prefer — an ugly old maid in a rage, or an ugly old maid in tears. MisB Jillgall presented herself in both cha racters when she heard what had hap pened. To my mind Mrs. Tenbruggen's bosom friend is a creature not fib to ba Been or heaid when she loses her temper. I only told her bo leave the room. To my great amusement she shook her bony fiab at me and expressed a devout wish : ' Ob, if I was rich enough to leave this wicked house !' I wonder whether there is insanity (as well as poverty) in Miss JillgaU'a family ? Last night my mind was In a harassed state. Philip was, as usual, the cause of it. Perhaps I acted Indiscreetly when 1 insisted on his leaving London and re turning to this place. But what else could I have done 1 It was not merely my interest, it was an act of downright necessity, to withdraw him from the influence of Ms hateful father, whom I now regard aa the one serious obstacle to my marriage. There is no prospect of being rid of Mm by Ms returning to Ireland. He is trying a new remedy for his crippled hand — electricity. I wish it was lightning to kill Mm I If I had given that wicked old man the chance, I am firmly convinced he would sot have let a day pass without doing Ms best to depreciate me in Ms son's estimation. Besides, there was the risk If I had alloired Philip to remain long away from me of losing — no, while I kept my beauty I cannot be hi such danger as that — let me say, of permitting tune and absence to weaken my hold on him, However Bullen and BUent he may be when we meet — and I find him in that condition far too often — I can sooner or later recall Mm to Ms brighter self. My eyes pre Berve their charm, my talk can still amuse Mm, and, better even than that, I feel the answering thrill In him wMch tells me how precious my kisses are — not too lavisMy bestowed ! But the time whan 1 am obliged to leave him to rifm^PiTf Is the time that I dread. How do I know that hiB thoughts are not wandering away to Eunice ? He denies it ; he declares that he only went to the farmhouse to express his regret for his own thoughtless con duct, and to offer her the brotherly regard due to the sister of his promised wife. Can I believe ib ? Oh, what would I not give to be able to believe it 1 How can I feel sure that her refusal to see him. was not a cunning desire to make Mm long for another Interview, and plan per haps In private to go back and try again. Marriage! Nothing will quiet theBe fright ful doubts of mine, nothing will reward me for all that I have suffered, nothing will warm my heart with the delightful sense of triumph over Eunice but my mar riage to Philip. And what does he say when I urge it on him? — yes, I have fallen as low as that, In the despair wMch sometimes possesses me. He has his answer, always the same and always ready — How are we to live, where Is the money ? The maddening part of it is that I cannot accuse him of raising objections that don't exist. We are poorer than ever here since my father's illness — and Philip's allowance is barely enough to suffice Mm as a single man. Oh, how I hate the rich ! It was useless to think of going to bed. How could I hope to sleep with my head throbbing and my thoughts in this disturbed state ? I pub on my comfort able dressing gown, and sat down to try what reading would do to quiet my mind. I had borrowed the book from tie library, to wMch I have been a subscriber in secret for some time past. It was an old volume, full of what we should now call gossip ; relating strange adventures and scandalous Incidents In family history which had bees concealed from public notice. One of these last romances In real life caught a strong hold on my interest. It was a strange case of intended poisoning, wMch had never been carried out. A young married lady of rank, whoae name was concealed under an Initial letter, had suffered some unendurable wrong (which was not mentioned) ab the hands of her husband's mother. The wife was described as a woman of strong passions, who had determined on a terrible revenge by taking the life of her mother in*law. There were difficulties in the way of her committing the crime without an accomplice to help her ; and she decided on taking her maid, an elderly woman, into her confidence. The poison was secretly obtained by this person, and the safest manner of . administering it was under discussion between the mistress and the maid when the door of the room was suddenly opened. The husband, accom panied by his brother, rushed in and charged his wife with plotting the murder of his mother. The young lady (she was only twenty-three years old) must have been a person of extraordinary courage and resolution. She saw at once that her maid had betrayed her and with astonish ing presence of mind she turned on the traitress, and said to her husband. ' There Is the wretch who has been trying to persuade me to poison your mother.' Ab ib happened the old lady's temper was violent and overbearing, and the maid had complained ol being Ill-treated by her in the hearing of the other Becvanba. The circumstances nude it impossible to de

cide wMch of the two was really the guilty woman. The servant was sent away, and the husband and wife separated soon afterwards under the excuse of in compatibility of temper. Years passed, and the truth was only discovered by the death-bed confession of the wife. A re* markable story, which has made such an Impression on me that I have written ib in my journal. I am not rich enough to buy the book. For the last two days I have been con fined to my room with a bad feverish cold —caused, I suppose, by sitting ab an open window reading my book till nearly three o'clock In the morning. I sent a note to PMlip telling him of my illness. Oa the first day he called to enquire after me, and on the second day no visit and no letter. Here is the third day, and no news of Mm as yet. I am better, but not fib to go out. Let me wait another hour, and, if that exertion of patience meets with no reward, I shall send a note to the hotel. No news of Philip. I have sent to the hotel. The servant has just returned bringing me back my note. The waiter informed her that Mr. Dunboyne had gone away to London by the morning train. No apology or explanation left for me. Can he have deserted me? I am in such a frenzy of doubt and rage that I can hardly write that horrible question. Is it possible — oh, I feel ib is possible that he has gone away with Eunice. Do I know where to find them? If I did know, what could I do ? Do ? I feel as if I conld kill them both. (To be continued. )