III.9. She Knows The Truth
1. From Mr. Bashwood to Miss Gwilt.
"Thorpe Ambrose, July 20th, 1851.
"DEAR MADAM--I received yesterday, by private messenger, your obliging
note, in which you direct me to communicate with you through the post only, as
long as there is reason to believe that any visitors who may come to you are likely
to be observed. May I be permitted to say that I look forward with respectful
anxiety to the time when I shall again enjoy the only real happiness I have ever
experienced--the happiness of personally addressing you?
"In compliance with your desire that I should not allow this day (the Sunday) to
pass without privately noticing what went on at the great house, I took the keys,
and went this morning to the steward's office. I accounted for my appearance to
the servants by informing them that I had work to do which it was important to
complete in the shortest possible time. The same excuse would have done for Mr.
Armadale if we had met, but no such meeting happened.
"Although I was at Thorpe Ambrose in what I thought good time, I was too late to
see or hear anything myself of a serious quarrel which appeared to have taken
place, just before I arrived, between Mr. Armadale and Mr. Midwinter.
"All the little information I can give you in this matter is derived from one of the
servants. The man told me that he heard the voices of the two gentlemen loud in
Mr. Armadale's sitting-room. He went in to announce breakfast shortly afterward,
and found Mr. Midwinter in such a dreadful state of agitation that he had to be
helped out of the room. The servant tried to take him upstairs to lie down and
compose himself. He declined, saying he would wait a little first in one of the
lower rooms, and begging that he might be left alone. The man had hardly got
downstairs again when he heard the front door opened and closed. He ran back,
and found that Mr. Midwinter was gone. The rain was pouring at the time, and
thunder and lightning came soon afterward. Dreadful weather certainly to go out
in. The servant thinks Mr. Midwinter's mind was unsettled. I sincerely hope not.
Mr. Midwinter is one of the few people I have met with in the course of my life
who have treated me kindly.
"Hearing that Mr. Armadale still remained in the sitting-room, I went into the
steward's office (which, as you may remember, is on the same side of the house),
and left the door ajar, and set the window open, waiting and listening for anything
that might happen. Dear madam, there was a time when I might have thought such
a position in the house of my employer not a very becoming one. Let me hasten to
assure you that this is far from being my feeling now. I glory in any position
which makes me serviceable to you.
"The state of the weather seemed hopelessly adverse to that renewal of
intercourse between Mr. Armadale and Miss Milroy which you so confidently
anticipate, and of which you are so anxious to be made aware. Strangely enough,
however, it is actually in consequence of the state of the weather that I am now in