Armadale HTML version

reconciled with his dear friend--principally, I have no doubt, because he wants the
dear friend to lend a helping hand to the elopement. The real difficulty lay, of
course, with Midwinter. My sudden journey to London had allowed me no
opportunity of writing to combat his superstitious conviction that he and his
former friend are better apart. I thought it wise to leave Armadale in the cab at the
door, and to go into the hotel by myself to pave the way for him.
"Fortunately, Midwinter had not gone out. His delight at seeing me some days
sooner than he had hoped had something infectious in it, I suppose. Pooh! I may
own the truth to my own diary! There was a moment when I forgot everything in
the world but our two selves as completely as he did. I felt as if I was back in my
teens--until I remembered the lout in the cab at the door. And then I was five-and-
thirty again in an instant.
"His face altered when he heard who was below, and what it was I wanted of him;
he looked not angry, but distressed. He yielded, however, before long, not to my
reasons, for I gave him none, but to my entreaties. His old fondness for his friend
might possibly have had some share in persuading him against his will; but my
own opinion is that he acted entirely under the influence of his fondness for Me.
"I waited in the sitting-room while he went down to the door; so I knew nothing
of what passed between them when they first saw each other again. But oh, the
difference between the two men when the interval had passed, and they came
upstairs together and joined me.
"They were both agitated, but in such different ways! The hateful Armadale, so
loud and red and clumsy; the dear, lovable Midwinter, so pale and quiet, with
such a gentleness in his voice when he spoke, and such tenderness in his eyes
every time they turned my way. Armadale overlooked me as completely as if I
had not been in the room. He referred to me over and over again in the
conversation; he constantly looked at me to see what I thought, while I sat in my
corner silently watching them; he wanted to go with me and see me safe to my
lodgings, and spare me all trouble with the cabman and the luggage. When I
thanked him and declined, Armadale looked unaffectedly relieved at the prospect
of seeing my back turned, and of having his friend all to himself. I left him, with
his awkward elbows half over the table, scrawling a letter (no doubt to Miss
Milroy), and shouting to the waiter that he wanted a bed at the hotel. I had
calculated on his staying, as a matter of course, where he found his friend staying.
It was pleasant to find my anticipations realized, and to know that I have as good
as got him now under my own eye.
"After promising to let Midwinter know where he could see me to-morrow, I went
away in the cab to hunt for lodgings by myself.
"With some difficulty I have succeeded in getting an endurable sitting-room and
bedroom in this house, where the people are perfect strangers to me. Having paid
a week's rent in advance (for I naturally preferred dispensing with a reference), I
find myself with exactly three shillings and ninepence left in my purse. It is
impossible to ask Midwinter for money, after he has already paid Mrs.
Oldershaw's note of hand. I must borrow something to-morrow on my watch and
chain at the pawnbroker's. Enough to keep me going for a fortnight is all, and