"What kind of man?" said Rachel.
"Pompous and sentimental."
"I liked him," said Rachel.
"So you didn't mind?"
For the first time since Helen had known her Rachel's eyes lit up brightly.
"I did mind," she said vehemently. "I dreamt. I couldn't sleep."
"Tell me what happened," said Helen. She had to keep her lips from twitching as she listened to Rachel's story. It was poured out abruptly with great seriousness and no sense of humour.
"We talked about politics. He told me what he had done for the poor somewhere. I asked him all sorts of questions. He told me about his own life. The day before yesterday, after the storm, he came in to see me. It happened then, quite suddenly. He kissed me. I don't know why." As she spoke she grew flushed. "I was a good deal excited," she continued. "But I didn't mind till afterwards; when—" she paused, and saw the figure of the bloated little man again—"I became terrified."
From the look in her eyes it was evident she was again terrified. Helen was really at a loss what to say. From the little she knew of Rachel's upbringing she supposed that she had been kept entirely ignorant as to the relations of men with women. With a shyness which she felt with women and not with men she did not like to explain simply what these are. Therefore she took the other course and belittled the whole affair.
"Oh, well," she said, "he was a silly creature, and if I were you, I'd think no more about it."
"No," said Rachel, sitting bolt upright, "I shan't do that. I shall think about it all day and all night until I find out exactly what it does mean."
"Don't you ever read?" Helen asked tentatively.
"Cowper's Letters—that kind of thing. Father gets them for me or my Aunts."
Helen could hardly restrain herself from saying out loud what she thought of a man who brought up his daughter so that