Armadale HTML version
there was a suspicion in Madeira at the time of something wrong. Was it wrong?
Was the man who had been tricked out of his wife to blame for shutting the cabin
door, and leaving the man who had tricked him to drown in the wreck? Yes; the
woman wasn't worth it.
"What am I sure of that really concerns myself?
"I am sure of one very important thing. I am sure that Midwinter--I must call him
by his ugly false name, or I may confuse the two Armadales before I have done--I
am sure that Midwinter is perfectly ignorant that I and the little imp of twelve
years old who waited on Mrs. Armadale in Madeira, and copied the letters that
were supposed to arrive from the West Indies, are one and the same. There are not
many girls of twelve who could have imitated a man's handwriting, and held their
tongues about it afterward, as I did; but that doesn't matter now. What does matter
is that Midwinter's belief in the Dream is Midwinter's only reason for trying to
connect me with Allan Armadale, by associating me with Allan Armadale's father
and mother. I asked him if he actually thought me old enough to have known
either of them. And he said No, poor fellow, in the most innocent, bewildered
way. Would he say No if he saw me now? Shall I turn to the glass and see if I
look my five-and-thirty years? or shall I go on writing? I will go on writing.
"There is one thing more that haunts me almost as obstinately as the Names.
"I wonder whether I am right in relying on Midwinter's superstition (as I do) to
help me in keeping him at arms-length. After having let the excitement of the
moment hurry me into saying more than I need have said, he is certain to press
me; he is certain to come back, with a man's hateful selfishness and impatience in
such things, to the question of marrying me. Will the Dream help me to check
him? After alternately believing and disbelieving in it, he has got, by his own
confession, to believing in it again. Can I say I believe in it, too? I have better
reasons for doing so than he knows of. I am not only the person who helped Mrs.
Armadale's marriage by helping her to impose on her own father: I am the woman
who tried to drown herself; the woman who started the series of accidents which
put young Armadale in possession of his fortune; the woman who has come
Thorpe Ambrose to marry him for his fortune, now he has got it; and more
extraordinary still, the woman who stood in the Shadow's place at the pool! These
may be coincidences, but they are strange coincidences. I declare I begin to fancy
that I believe in the Dream too!
"Suppose I say to him, 'I think as you think. I say what you said in your letter to
me, Let us part before the harm is done. Leave me before the Third Vision of the
Dream comes true. Leave me, and put the mountains and the seas between you
and the man who bears your name!'
"Suppose, on the other side, that his love for me makes him reckless of everything
else? Suppose he says those desperate words again, which I understand now:
What is to be, will be. What have I to do with it, and what has she?' Suppose--
"I won't write any more. I hate writing. It doesn't relieve me--it makes me worse.
I'm further from being able to think of all that I must think of than I was when I
sat down. It is past midnight. To-morrow has come already; and here I am as
helpless as the stupidest woman living! Bed is the only fit place for me.