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"How to get there, and especially how to get there unaccompanied by Midwinter,
was more than I had wit enough to discover that night. I tried and tried to meet the
difficulty, and fell asleep exhausted toward the morning without having met it.
"Some hours later, as soon as I was dressed, Midwinter came in, with news
received by that morning's post from his employers in London. The proprietors of
the newspaper had received from the editor so favorable a report of his
correspondence from Naples that they had determined on advancing him to a
place of greater responsibility and greater emolument at Turin. His instructions
were inclosed in the letter, and he was requested to lose no time in leaving Naples
for his new post.
"On hearing this, I relieved his mind, before he could put the question, of all
anxiety about my willingness to remove. Turin had the great attraction, in my
eyes, of being on the road to England. I assured him at once that I was ready to
travel as soon as he pleased.
"He thanked me for suiting myself to his plans, with more of his old gentleness
and kindness than I had seen in him for some time past. The good news from
Armadale on the previous day seemed to have roused him a little from the dull
despair in which he had been sunk since the sailing of the yacht. And now the
prospect of advancement in his profession, and, more than that, the prospect of
leaving the fatal place in which the Third Vision of the Dream had come true, had
(as he owned himself) additionally cheered and relieved him. He asked, before he
went away to make the arrangements for our journey, whether I expected to hear
from my 'family' in England, and whether he should give instructions for the
forwarding of my letters with his own to the poste restante at Turin. I instantly
thanked him, and accepted the offer. His proposal had suggested to me, the
moment he made it, that my fictitious 'family circumstances' might be turned to
good account once more, as a reason for unexpectedly summoning me from Italy
to England.
"On the ninth of the month we were installed at Turin.
"On the thirteenth, Midwinter--being then very busy--asked if I would save him a
loss of time by applying for any letters which might have followed us from
Naples. I had been waiting for the opportunity he now offered me; and I
determined to snatch at it without allowing myself time to hesitate. There were no
letters at the poste restante for either of us. But when he put the question on my
return, I told him that there had been a letter for me, with alarming news from
'home.' My 'mother' was dangerously ill, and I was entreated to lose no time in
hurrying back to England to see her.
"It seems quite unaccountable--now that I am away from him--but it is none the
less true, that I could not, even yet, tell him a downright premeditated falsehood,
without a sense of shrinking and shame, which other people would think, and
which I think myself, utterly inconsistent with such a character as mine.
Inconsistent or not, I felt it. And what is stranger--perhaps I ought to say madder--
still, if he had persisted in his first resolution to accompany me himself to
England rather than allow me to travel alone, I firmly believe I should have turned
my back on temptation for the second time, and have lulled myself to rest once