Armadale HTML version
your way back to the railroad. But I was a little puzzled (considering that you had
your veil down on both those occasions, and your veil down also when we were in
the Gardens) at his recognizing you. I doubted his remembering your figure in a
summer dress after he had only seen it in a winter dress; and though we were
talking when he met us, and your voice is one among your many charms, I
doubted his remembering your voice, either. And yet I felt persuaded that he
knew you. 'How?' you will ask. My dear, as ill-luck would have it, we were
speaking at the time of young Armadale. I firmly believe that the name was the
first thing that struck him; and when he heard that, your voice certainly and your
figure perhaps, came back to his memory. 'And what if it did?' you may say.
Think again, Lydia, and tell me whether the parson of the place where Mrs.
Armadale lived was not likely to be Mrs. Armadale's friend? If he was her friend,
the very first person to whom she would apply for advice after the manner in
which you frightened her, and after what you most injudiciously said on the
subject of appealing to her son, would be the clergyman of the parish--and the
magistrate, too, as the landlord at the inn himself told you.
"You will now understand why I left you in that extremely uncivil manner, and I
may go on to what happened next.
"I followed the old gentleman till he turned into a quiet street, and then accosted
him, with respect for the Church written (I flatter myself) in every line of my face.
"'Will you excuse me,' I said, 'if I venture to inquire, sir, whether you recognized
the lady who was walking with me when you happened to pass us in the
"'Will you excuse my asking, ma'am, why you put that question?' was all the
answer I got.
"'I will endeavor to tell you, sir,' I said. 'If my friend is not an absolute stranger to
you, I should wish to request your attention to a very delicate subject, connected
with a lady deceased, and with her son who survives her.'
"He was staggered; I could see that. But he was sly enough at the same time to
hold his tongue and wait till I said something more.
"'If I am wrong, sir, in thinking that you recognized my friend,' I went on, 'I beg to
apologize. But I could hardly suppose it possible that a gentleman in your
profession would follow a lady home who was a total stranger to him.'
"There I had him. He colored up (fancy that, at his age!), and owned the truth, in
defense of his own precious character.
"'I have met with the lady once before, and I acknowledge that I recognized her in
the Gardens,' he said. 'You will excuse me if I decline entering into the question
of whether I did or did not purposely follow her home. If you wish to be assured
that your friend is not an absolute stranger to me, you now have that assurance;
and if you have anything particular to say to me, I leave you to decide whether the
time has come to say it.'
"He waited, and looked about. I waited, and looked about. He said the street was
hardly a fit place to speak of a delicate subject in. I said the street was hardly a fit
place to speak of a delicate subject in. He didn't offer to take me to where he
lived. I didn't offer to take him to where I lived. Have you ever seen two strange