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Armadale

mother's own conduct in keeping your early connection with her a profound secret
from her son and from everybody.
"The next, and last, perplexity to settle relates, my dear, to the chances for and
against your finding your way, in the capacity of governess, into Major Milroy's
house. Once inside the door, with your knowledge of music and languages, if you
can keep your temper, you may be sure of keeping the place. The only doubt, as
things are now, is whether you can get it.
"In the major's present difficulty about his daughter's education, the chances are, I
think, in favor of his advertising for a governess. Say he does advertise, what
address will he give for applicants to write to?
"If he gives an address in London, good-by to all chances in your favor at once;
for this plain reason, that we shall not be able to pick out his advertisement from
the advertisements of other people who want governesses, and who will give them
addresses in London as well. If, on the other hand, our luck helps us, and he refers
his correspondents to a shop, post-office, or what not at Thorpe Ambrose, there
we have our advertiser as plainly picked out for us as we can wish. In this last
case, I have little or no doubt--with me for your reference--of your finding your
way into the major's family circle. We have one great advantage over the other
women who will answer the advertisement. Thanks to my inquiries on the spot, I
know Major Milroy to be a poor man; and we will fix the salary you ask at a
figure that is sure to tempt him. As for the style of the letter, if you and I together
can't write a modest and interesting application for the vacant place, I should like
to know who can?
"All this, however, is still in the future. For the present my advice is, stay where
you are, and dream to your heart's content, till you hear from me again. I take in
The Times regularly, and you may trust my wary eye not to miss the right
advertisement. We can luckily give the major time, without doing any injury to
our own interests; for there is no fear just yet of the girl's getting the start of you.
The public reception, as we know, won't be ready till near the end of the month;
and we may safely trust young Armadale's vanity to keep him out of his new
house until his flatterers are all assembled to welcome him.
"It's odd, isn't it, to think how much depends on this half-pay officer's decision?
For my part, I shall wake every morning now with the same question in my mind:
If the major's advertisment appears, which will the major say--Thorpe Ambrose,
or London?
"Ever, my dear Lydia, affectionately yours,
"MARIA OLDERSHAW."
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