III.6. Pedgift's Postscript
"I mentioned that a point had occurred to me, sir," remarked Pedgift Senior.
"You did," said Allan.
"Would you like to hear what it is, Mr. Armadale?"
"If you please," said Allan.
"With all my heart, sir! This is the point. I attach considerable importance--if
nothing else can be done--to having Miss Gwilt privately looked after, as long as
she stops at Thorpe Ambrose. It struck me just now at the door, Mr. Armadale,
that what you are not willing to do for your own security, you might be willing to
do for the security of another person."
"What other person?" inquired Allan.
"A young lady who is a near neighbor of yours, sir. Shall I mention the name in
confidence? Miss Milroy."
Allan started, and changed color.
"Miss Milroy!" he repeated. "Can she be concerned in this miserable business? I
hope not, Mr. Pedgift; I sincerely hope not."
"I paid a visit, in your interests, sir, at the cottage this morning," proceeded
Pedgift Senior. "You shall hear what happened there, and judge for yourself.
Major Milroy has been expressing his opinion of you pretty freely; and I thought
it highly desirable to give him a caution. It's always the way with those quiet
addle-headed men: when they do once wake up, there's no reasoning with their
obstinacy, and no quieting their violence. Well, sir, this morning I went to the
cottage. The major and Miss Neelie were both in the parlor--miss not looking so
pretty as usual; pale, I thought, pale, and worn, and anxious. Up jumps the addle-
headed major (I wouldn't give that, Mr. Armadale, for the brains of a man who
can occupy himself for half his lifetime n making a clock!)--up jumps the addle-
headed major, in the loftiest manner, and actually tries to look me down. Ha! ha!
the idea of anybody looking me down, at my time of life. I behaved like a
Christian; I nodded kindly to old What's-o'clock 'Fine morning, major,' says I.
'Have you any business with me?' says he. 'Just a word,' says I. Miss Neelie, like
the sensible girl she is, gets up to leave the room; and what does her ridiculous
father do? He stops her. 'You needn't go, my dear, I have nothing to say to Mr.
Pedgift,' says this old military idiot, and turns my way, and tries to look me down
again. 'You are Mr. Armadale's lawyer,' says he; 'if you come on any business
relating to Mr. Armadale, I refer you to my solicitor.' (His solicitor is Darch; and
Darch has had enough of me in business, I can tell you!) 'My errand here, major,
does certainly relate to Mr. Armadale,' says I; 'but it doesn't concern your lawyer--
at any rate, just yet. I wish to caution you to suspend your opinion of my client,
or, if you won't do that, to be careful how you express it in public. I warn you that
our turn is to come, and that you are not at the end yet of this scandal about Miss
Gwilt.' It struck me as likely that he would lose his temper when he found himself
tackled in that way, and he amply fulfilled my expectations. He was quite violent
in his language--the poor weak creature--actually violent with me! I behaved like