Armadale HTML version

III.14. Miss Gwilt's Diary
"All Saints' Terrace, New Road, London, July 28th, Monday night.--I can hardly
hold my head up, I am so tired. But in my situation, I dare not trust anything to
memory. Before I go to bed, I must write my customary record of the events of
the day.
"So far, the turn of luck in my favor (it was long enough before it took the turn!)
seems likely to continue. I succeeded in forcing Armadale--the brute required
nothing short of forcing!-- to leave Thorpe Ambrose for London, alone in the
same carriage with me, before all the people in the station. There was a full
attendance of dealers in small scandal, all staring hard at us, and all evidently
drawing their own conclusions. Either I knew nothing of Thorpe Ambrose--or the
town gossip is busy enough by this time with Mr. Armadale and Miss Gwilt.
"I had some difficulty with him for the first half-hour after we left the station. The
guard (delightful man! I felt so grateful to him!) had shut us up together, in
expectation of half a crown at the end of the journey. Armadale was suspicious of
me, and he showed it plainly. Little by little I tamed my wild beast--partly by
taking care to display no curiosity about his journey to town, and partly by
interesting him on the subject of his friend Midwinter; dwelling especially on the
opportunity that now offered itself for a reconciliation between them. I kept
harping on this string till I set his tongue going, and made him amuse me as a
gentleman is bound to do when he has the honor of escorting a lady on a long
railway journey.
"What little mind he has was full, of course, of his own affairs and Miss Milroy's.
No words can express the clumsiness he showed in trying to talk about himself,
without taking me into his confidence or mentioning Miss Milroy's name.
"He was going to London, he gravely informed me, on a matter of indescribable
interest to him. It was a secret for the present, but he hoped to tell it me soon; it
had made a great difference already in the way in which he looked at the slanders
spoken of him in Thorpe Ambrose; he was too happy to care what the scandal-
mongers said of him now, and he should soon stop their mouths by appearing in a
new character that would surprise them all. So he blundered on, with the firm
persuasion that he was keeping me quite in the dark. It was hard not to laugh,
when I thought of my anonymous letter on its way to the major; but I managed to
control myself--though, I must own, with some difficulty. As the time wore on, I
began to feel a terrible excitement; the position was, I think, a little too much for
me. There I was, alone with him, talking in the most innocent, easy, familiar
manner, and having it in my mind all the time to brush his life out of my way,
when the moment comes, as I might brush a stain off my gown. It made my blood
leap, and my cheeks flush. I caught myself laughing once or twice much louder
than I ought; and long before we got to London I thought it desirable to put my
face in hiding by pulling down my veil.
"There was no difficulty, on reaching the terminus, in getting him to come in the
cab with me to the hotel where Midwinter is staying. He was all eagerness to be