1. News From Norfolk
From Mr. Pedgift, Senior (Thorpe Ambrose), to Mr. Pedgift, Junior (Paris).
"High Street, December 20th.
"MY DEAR AUGUSTUS--Your letter reached me yesterday. You seem to be
making the most of your youth (as you call it) with a vengeance. Well! enjoy your
holiday. I made the most of my youth when I was your age; and, wonderful to
relate, I haven't forgotten it yet!
"You ask me for a good budget of news, and especially for more information
about that mysterious business at the Sanitarium.
"Curiosity, my dear boy, is a quality which (in our profession especially)
sometimes leads to great results. I doubt, however, if you will find it leading to
much on this occasion. All I know of the mystery of the Sanitarium, I know from
Mr. Armadale: and he is entirely in the dark on more than one point of
importance. I have already told you how they were entrapped into the house, and
how they passed the night there. To this I can now add that something did
certainly happen to Mr. Midwinter, which deprived him of consciousness; and
that the doctor, who appears to have been mixed up in the matter, carried things
with a high hand, and insisted on taking his own course in his own Sanitarium.
There is not the least doubt that the miserable woman (however she might have
come by her death) was found dead--that a coroner's inquest inquired into the
circumstances--that the evidence showed her to have entered the house as a
patient--and that the medical investigation ended in discovering that she had died
of apoplexy. My idea is that Mr. Midwinter had a motive of his own for not
coming forward with the evidence that he might have given. I have also reason to
suspect that Mr. Armadale, out of regard for him, followed his lead, and that the
verdict at the inquest (attaching no blame to anybody) proceeded, like many other
verdicts of the same kind, from an entirely superficial investigation of the
"The key to the whole mystery is to be found, I firmly believe, in that wretched
woman's attempt to personate the character of Mr. Armadale's widow when the
news of his death appeared in the papers. But what first set her on this, and by
what inconceivable process of deception she can have induced Mr. Midwinter to
marry her (as the certificate proves) under Mr. Armadale's name, is more than Mr.
Armadale himself knows. The point was not touched at the inquest, for the simple
reason that the inquest only concerned itself with the circumstances attending her
death. Mr. Armadale, at his friend's request, saw Miss Blanchard, and induced her
to silence old Darch on the subject of the claim that had been made relating to the
widow's income. As the claim had never been admitted, even our stiff-necked
brother practitioner consented for once to do as he was asked. The doctor's
statement that his patient was the widow of a gentleman named Armadale was
accordingly left unchallenged, and so the matter has been hushed up. She is
buried in the great cemetery, near the place where she died. Nobody but Mr.