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Midwinter and Mr. Armadale (who insisted on going with him) followed her to
the grave; and nothing has been inscribed on the tombstone but the initial letter of
her Christian name and the date of her death. So, after all the harm she has done,
she rests at last; and so the two men whom she has injured have forgiven her.
"Is there more to say on this subject before we leave it? On referring to your
letter, I find you have raised one other point, which may be worth a moment's
"You ask if there is reason to suppose that the doctor comes out of the matter with
hands which are really as clean as they look? My dear Augustus, I believe the
doctor to have been at the bottom of more of this mischief than we shall ever find
out; and to have profited by the self-imposed silence of Mr. Midwinter and Mr.
Armadale, as rogues perpetually profit by the misfortunes and necessities of
honest men. It is an ascertained fact that he connived at the false statement about
Miss Milroy, which entrapped the two gentlemen into his house; and that one
circumstance (after my Old Bailey experience) is enough for me. As to evidence
against him, there is not a jot; and as to Retribution overtaking him, I can only say
I heartily hope Retribution may prove, in the long run, to be the more cunning
customer of the two. There is not much prospect of it at present. The doctor's
friends and admirers are, I understand, about to present him with a Testimonial,
'expressive of their sympathy under the sad occurrence which has thrown a cloud
over the opening of his Sanitarium, and of their undiminished confidence in his
integrity and ability as a medical man.' We live, Augustus, in an age eminently
favorable to the growth of all roguery which is careful enough to keep up
appearances. In this enlightened nineteenth century, I look upon the doctor as one
of our rising men.
"To turn now to pleasanter subjects than Sanitariums, I may tell you that Miss
Neelie is as good as well again, and is, in my humble opinion, prettier than ever.
She is staying in London under the care of a female relative; and Mr. Armadale
satisfies her of the fact of his existence (in case she should forget it) regularly
every day. They are to be married in the spring, unless Mrs. Milroy's death causes
the ceremony to be postponed. The medical men are of opinion that the poor lady
is sinking at last. It may be a question of weeks or a question of months, they can
say no more. She is greatly altered--quiet and gentle, and anxiously affectionate
with her husband and her child. But in her case this happy change is, it seems, a
sign of approaching dissolution, from the medical point of view. There is a
difficulty in making the poor old, major understand this. He only sees that she has
gone back to the likeness of her better self when he first married her; and he sits
for hours by her bedside now, and tells her about his wonderful clock.
"Mr. Midwinter, of whom you will next expect me to say something, is improving
rapidly. After causing some anxiety at first to the medical men (who declared that
he was suffering from a serious nervous shock, produced by circumstances about
which their patient's obstinate silence kept them quite in the dark), he has rallied,
as only men of his sensitive temperament (to quote the doctors again) can rally.
He and Mr. Armadale are together in a quiet lodging. I saw him last week when I
was in London. His face showed signs of wear and tear, very sad to see in so
young a man. But he spoke of himself and his future with a courage and