Armadale HTML version

III.10. Miss Gwilt's Diary
"July 21st, Monday night, eleven o'clock.--Midwinter has just left me. We parted
by my desire at the path out of the coppice; he going his way to the hotel, and I
going mine to my lodgings.
"I have managed to avoid making another appointment with him by arranging to
write to him to-morrow morning. This gives me the night's interval to compose
myself, and to coax my mind back (if I can) to my own affairs. Will the night
pass, and the morning find me still thinking of the Letter that came to him from
his father's deathbed? of the night he watched through on the Wrecked Ship; and,
more than all, of the first breathless moment when he told me his real Name?
"Would it help me to shake off these impressions, I wonder, if I made the effort of
writing them down? There would be no danger, in that case, of my forgetting
anything important. And perhaps, after all, it may be the fear of forgetting
something which I ought to remember that keeps this story of Midwinter's
weighing as it does on my mind. At any rate, the experiment is worth trying. In
my present situation I must be free to think of other things, or I shall never find
my way through all the difficulties at Thorpe Ambrose that are still to come.
"Let me think. What haunts me, to begin with?
"The Names haunt me. I keep saying and saying to myself: Both alike!--Christian
name and surname both alike! A light-haired Allan Armadale, whom I have long
since known of, and who is the son of my old mistress. A dark-haired Allan
Armadale, whom I only know of now, and who is only known to others under the
name of Ozias Midwinter. Stranger still; it is not relationship, it is not chance, that
has made them namesakes. The father of the light Armadale was the man who
was born to the family name, and who lost the family inheritance. The father of
the dark Armadale was the man who took the name, on condition of getting the
inheritance--and who got it.
"So there are two of them--I can't help thinking of it--both unmarried. The light-
haired Armadale, who offers to the woman who can secure him, eight thousand a
year while he lives; who leaves her twelve hundred a year when he dies; who
must and shall marry me for those two golden reasons; and whom I hate and
loathe as I never hated and loathed a man yet. And the dark-haired Armadale, who
has a poor little income, which might perhaps pay his wife's milliner, if his wife
was careful; who has just left me, persuaded that I mean to marry him; and whom-
-well, whom I might have loved once, before I was the woman I am now.
"And Allan the Fair doesn't know he has a namesake. And Allan the Dark has
kept the secret from everybody but the Somersetshire clergyman (whose
discretion he can depend on) and myself.
"And there are two Allan Armadales--two Allan Armadales--two Allan
Armadales. There! three is a lucky number. Haunt me again, after that, if you can!
"What next? The murder in the timber ship? No; the murder is a good reason why
the dark Armadale, whose father committed it, should keep his secret from the
fair Armadale, whose father was killed; but it doesn't concern me. I remember