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luggage office and to go to her friends in the City, and stay there till I write word
that I want her again.
"And what is the object of all this?
"My dear Lydia, the object is your future security (and mine). We may succeed or
we may fail, in persuading the parson that you have actually gone to the Brazils.
If we succeed, we are relieved of all fear of him. If we fail, he will warn young
Armadale to be careful of a woman like my house-maid, and not of a woman like
you. This last gain is a very important one; for we don't know that Mrs. Armadale
may not have told him your maiden name. In that event, the 'Miss Gwilt' whom he
will describe as having slipped through his fingers here will be so entirely unlike
the 'Miss Gwilt' established at Thorpe Ambrose, as to satisfy everybody that it is
not a case of similarity of persons, but only a case of similarity of names.
"What do you say now to my improvement on your idea? Are my brains not quite
so addled as you thought them when you wrote? Don't suppose I'm at all
overboastful about my own ingenuity. Cleverer tricks than this trick of mine are
played off on the public by swindlers, and are recorded in the newspapers every
week. I only want to show you that my assistance is not less necessary to the
success of the Armadale speculation now than it was when I made our first
important discoveries, by means of the harmless-looking young man and the
private inquiry office in Shadyside Place.
"There is nothing more to say that I know of, except that I am just going to start
for the new lodging, with a box directed in my new name. The last expiring
moments of Mother Oldershaw, of the Toilet Repository, are close at hand, and
the birth of Miss Gwilt's respectable reference, Mrs. Mandeville, will take place in
a cab in five minutes' time. I fancy I must be still young at heart, for I am quite in
love already with my romantic name; it sounds almost as pretty as Mrs. Armadale
of Thorpe Ambrose, doesn't it?
"Good-night, my dear, and pleasant dreams. If any accident happens between this
and Monday, write to me instantly by post. If no accident happens you will be
with me in excellent time for the earliest inquiries that the major can possibly
make. My last words are, don't go out, and don't venture near the front windows
till Monday comes.
"Affectionately yours,
M. O."