Armadale HTML version

IV.3. The Diary Broken Off
"London, November 19th.--I am alone again in the Great City; alone, for the first
time since our marriage. Nearly a week since I started on my homeward journey,
leaving Midwinter behind me at Turin.
"The days have been so full of events since the month began, and I have been so
harassed, in mind and body both, for the greater part of the time, that my Diary
has been wretchedly neglected. A few notes, written in such hurry and confusion
that I can hardly understand them myself, are all that I possess to remind me of
what has happened since the night when Armadale's yacht left Naples. Let me try
if I can set this right without more loss or time; let me try if I can recall the
circumstances in their order as they have followed each other from the beginning
of the month.
"On the 3d of November--being then still at Naples--Midwinter received a hurried
letter from Armadale, date 'Messina.' 'The weather,' he said, 'had been lovely, and
the yacht had made one of the quickest passages on record. The crew were rather
a rough set to look at; but Captain Manuel and his English mate' (the latter
described as 'the best of good fellows') 'managed them admirably.' After this
prosperous beginning, Armadale had arranged, as a matter of course, to prolong
the cruise; and, at the sailing-master's suggestion, he had decided to visit some of
the ports in the Adriatic, which the captain had described as full of character, and
well worth seeing.
"A postscript followed, explaining that Armadale had written in a hurry to catch
the steamer to Naples, and that he had opened his letter again, before sending it
off, to add something that he had forgotten. On the day before the yacht sailed, he
had been at the banker's to get 'a few hundreds in gold,' and he believed he had
left his cigar-case there. It was an old friend of his, and he begged that Midwinter
would oblige him by endeavoring recover it, and keeping it for him till they met
"That was the substance of the letter.
"I thought over it carefully when Midwinter had left me alone again, after reading
it. My idea was then (and is still) that Manuel had not persuaded Armadale to
cruise in a sea like the Adriatic, so much less frequented by ships than the
Mediterranean, for nothing. The terms, too, in which the trifling loss of the cigar-
case was mentioned struck me as being equally suggestive of what was coming. I
concluded that Armadale's circular notes had not been transformed into those 'few
hundreds in gold' through any forethought or business knowledge of his own.
Manuel's influence, I suspected, had been exerted in this matter also, and once
more not without reason. At intervals through the wakeful night these
considerations came back again and again to me; and time after time they pointed
obstinately (so far as my next movements were concerned) in one and the same
way--the way back to England.