Armadale HTML version
"Ah, no! no! the secret lies deeper than that! I have thought and thought about it
till a horrible fancy has taken possession of me. He has been noble and good in
his past life, and I have been wicked and disgraced. Who can tell what a gap that
dreadful difference may make between us, unknown to him and unknown to me?
It is folly, it is madness; but, when I lie awake by him in the darkness, I ask
myself whether any unconscious disclosure of the truth escapes me in the close
intimacy that now unites us? Is there an unutterable Something left by the horror
of my past life, which clings invisibly to me still? And is he feeling the influence
of it, sensibly, and yet incomprehensibly to himself? Oh me! is there no purifying
power in such love as mine? Are there plague-spots of past wickedness on my
heart which no after-repentance can wash out?
"Who can tell? There is something wrong in our married life-- I can only come
back to that. There is some adverse influence that neither he nor I can trace which
is parting us further and further from each other day by day. Well! I suppose I
shall be hardened in time, and learn to bear it.
"An open carriage has just driven by my window, with a nicely dressed lady in it.
She had her husband by her side, and her children on the seat opposite. At the
moment when I saw her she was laughing and talking in high spirits--a sparkling,
light-hearted, happy woman. Ah, my lady, when you were a few years younger, if
you had been left to yourself, and thrown on the world like me--
"October 11th.--The eleventh day of the month was the day (two months since)
when we were married. He said nothing about it to me when we woke, nor I to
him. But I thought I would make it the occasion, at breakfast-time, of trying to
win him back.
"I don't think I ever took such pains with my toilet before. I don't think I ever
looked better than I looked when I went downstairs this morning. He had
breakfasted by himself, and I found a little slip of paper on the table with an
apology written on it. The post to England, he said, went out that day and his
letter to the newspaper must be finished. In his place I would have let fifty posts
go out rather than breakfast without him. I went into his room. There he was,
immersed body and soul in his hateful writing! 'Can't you give me a little time this
morning?' I asked. He got up with a start. 'Certainly, if you wish it.' He never even
looked at me as he said the words. The very sound of his voice told me that all his
interest was centered in the pen that he had just laid down. 'I see you are
occupied,' I said; 'I don't wish it.' Before I had closed the door on him he was back
at his desk. I have often heard that the wives of authors have been for the most
part unhappy women. And now I know why.
"I suppose, as I said yesterday, I shall learn to bear it. (What stuff, by-the-by, I
seem to have written yesterday! How ashamed I should be if anybody saw it but
myself!) I hope the trumpery newspaper he writes for won't succeed! I hope his
rubbishing letter will be well cut up by some other newspaper as soon as it gets
"What am I to do with myself all the morning? I can't go out, it's raining. If I open
the piano, I shall disturb the industrious journalist who is scribbling in the next
room. Oh, dear, it was lonely enough in my lodging in Thorpe Ambrose, but how
much lonelier it is here! Shall I read? No; books don't interest me; I hate the