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y under my own control made me so restless, when I returned to my lodgings, that I was obliged to go out again, and do something. A new interest to occupy me being what I wanted, I went to Pimlico to have it out with Mother Oldershaw.
“I walked; and made up my mind, on the way, that I would begin by quarreling with her.
“One of my notes of hand being paid already, and Midwinter being willing to pay the other two when they fall due, my present position with the old wretch is as independent a one as I could desire. I always get the better of her when it comes to a downright battle between us, and f cheap moncler sale ind her wonderfully civil and obliging the moment I have made her feel that mine is the strongest will of the two. In my present situation, she might be of use to me in various ways, if I could secure her assistance, without trusting her with secrets which I am now more than ever determined to keep to myself. That was my idea as I walked to Pimlico. Upsetting Mother Oldershaw’s nerves, in the first place, and then twisting her round my little finger, in the second, promised me, as I thought, an interesting occupation for the rest of the afternoon.
“When I got to Pimlico, a surprise was in store for we. The house was shut up — not only on Mrs. Oldershaw’s side, but on Doctor Downward’s as well. A padlock was on the shop door; and a man was hanging about on the watch, who might have been an ordinary idler certainly, but who looked, to my mind, like a policeman in disguise.
“Knowing the risks the doctor runs in his particular form of practice, I suspected at once that something serious had happened, and that even cunning Mrs. Oldershaw was compromised this time. Without stopping, or making any inquiry, therefore, I called the first cab that passed me, and drove to the post- office to which I had desired my letters to be forwarded if any came for me after I left my Thorpe Ambrose lodging.
“On inquiry a letter was produced for ‘Miss Gwilt.’ It was in Mother Oldershaw’s handwriting, and it told me (as I had supposed) that the doctor had got into a serious difficulty — that she was herself most unfortunately mixed up in the matter, and that they were both in hiding for the present. The letter ended with some sufficiently venomous sentences about my conduct at Thorpe Ambrose, and with a warning that I have not heard the last of Mrs. Oldershaw yet. It relieved me to find her writing in this way — for she would have been civil and cringing if she had had any suspicion of what I have really got in view. I burned the letter as soon as the candles came up. And there, for the present, is an end of the connection between Mother Jezebel and me. I must do all my own dirty work now; and I shall be all the safer, perhaps, for trusting nobody’s hands to do it but my own.
“July 31st.— More useful information for me. I met Midwinter again in the Park (on the pretext that my reputation might suffer if he called too often at my lodgings), and heard the last news of Armadale since I left the hotel yesterday.
“After he had written to Miss Milroy, Midwinter took the opportunity of speaking to him about the necessary business arrangements during his absence from the great house. It was decided that the servants should be put on board wages, and that Mr. Bashwood should be left in charge. (Somehow, I don’t like this re-appearance of Mr. Bashwood in connection with my present interests, but there is no help for it.) The next question — the question of money — was settled at once by Mr. Armadale himself. All his available ready-money (a large sum) is to be lodged by Mr. Bashwood in Coutts’s Bank, and to be there deposited in Armadale’s name. This, he said, would save him the worry of any further letter-writing to his steward, and would enable him to get what he wanted, when he went abroad, at a moment’s notice. The plan thus proposed, being certainly the simplest and the safest, was adopted with Midwinter’s full concurrence; and here the business discussion would have ended, if the everlasting Mr. Bashwood had not turned up again in the conversation, and prolonged it in an entirely new direction.
“On reflection, it seems to have struck Midwinter that the whole responsibility at Thorpe Ambrose ought not to rest on Mr. Bashwood’s shoulders. Without in the least distrusting him, Midwinter felt, nevertheless, that he ought to have somebody set over him, to apply to in case of emergency. Armadale made no objection to this; he only asked, in his helpless way, who the person was to be?
“The answer was not an easy one to arrive at.
“Either of the two solicitors at Thorpe Ambrose might have been employed, but Armadale was on bad terms with both of them. Any reconciliation with such a bitter enemy as the elder lawyer, Mr. Darch, was out of the question; and reinstating Mr. Pedgift in his former position implied a tacit sanction on Armadale’s part of the lawyer’s abominable conduct toward me , which was scarcely consistent with the respect and regard that he felt for a lady who was soon to be his friend’s wife. After some further discussion, Midwinter hit on a new suggestion which appeared to meet the difficulty. He proposed that Armadale should write to a respectable solicitor at Norwich, stating his position in general terms, and requesting that gentleman to act as Mr. Bashwood’s adviser and superintendent when occasion required. Norwich being within an easy railway ride of Thorpe Ambrose, Armadale saw no objection to the proposal, and promised to write to the Norwich lawyer. Fearing that he might make some mistake if he wrote without assistance, Midwinter had drawn him out a draft of the necessary letter, and Armadale was now engaged in copying the draft, and also in writing to Mr. Bashwood to lodge the money immediately in Coutts’s Bank.
“These details are so dry and uninteresting in themselves that I hesitated at first about putting them down in my diary. But a little reflection has convinced me that they are too important to be passed over. Looked at from my point of view, they mean this — that Armadale’s own act is now cutting him off from all communication with Thorpe Ambrose, even by letter. He is as good as dead already to everybody he leaves behind him . The causes which have led to such a result as that are causes which certainly claim the best place I can give them in these pages.
“August 1st.— Nothing to record, but that I have had a long, quiet, happy day with Midwinter. He hired a carriage, and we drove to Richmond, and dined there. After to-day’s experience, it is impossible to deceive myself any longer. Come what may of it, I love him.
“I have fallen into low spirits since he left me. A persuasion has taken possession of my mind that the smooth and prosperous course of my affairs since I have been in London is too smooth and prosperous to last. There is something oppressing me to-night, which is more than the oppression of the heavy London air.
“August 2d.— Three o’clock.— My presentiments, like other people’s, have deceived me often enough; but I am almost afraid that my presentiment of last night was really prophetic, for once in a way.
“I went after breakfast to a milliner’s in this neighborhood to order a few cheap summer things, and thence to Midwinter’s hotel to arrange with him for another day in the country. I drove to the milliner’s and to t moncler sale he hotel, and part of the way back. Then, feeling disgusted with the horrid close smell of the cab (somebody had been smoking in it, I suppose), I got out to walk the rest of the way. Before I had been two minutes on my feet, I discovered that I was being followed by a strange man.
“This may mean nothing but that an idle fellow has been struck by my figure, and my appearance generally. My face could have made no impression on him, for it was hidden as usual by my veil. Whether he followed me (in a cab, of course) from the milliner’s, or from the hotel, I cannot say. Nor am I quite certain whe moncler sell ther he did or did not track me to this door. I only know that I lost sight of him before I got back. There is no help for it but to wait till events enlighten me. If there is anything serious in what has happened, I shall soon discover it.
“Five o’clock.— It is serious. Ten minutes since, I was in my bedroom, which communicates with the sitting-room. I was just moncler sale coats coming out, when I heard a strange voice on the landing outside — a woman’s voice. The next instant the sitting-room door was suddenly opened; the woman’s voice said, ‘Are these the apartments you have got to let?’ and though the landlady, behind her, answered, ‘No! higher up, ma’am,’ the woman came on straight to my bedroom, as if she had not heard. I had just time to slam the door in her face before she saw me. The necessary explanations and apologies followed between the landlady and the stranger in the sitting-room, and then I was left alone again.
“I have no time to write more. It is plain that somebody has an interest in trying to identify me, and that, but for my own quickness, the strange woman would have accompli ralph lauren sale shed this object by taking me by surprise. She and the man who followed me in the street are, I suspect, in league together; and there is probably somebody in the background whose interests they are serving. Is Mother Oldershaw attacking me in the dark? or who else can it be? No matter who it is; my present situation is too critical to be trifled with. I must get away from this house to-night, and leave no trace behind me by which I can be followed to another place.
“August 3d.— Gary Street, Tottenham Court Road.— I got away last night (after writing an excuse to Midwinter, in which ‘my invalid mother’ figured as the a moncler sale authentic ll-sufficient cause of my disappearance); and I have found refuge here. It has cost me some money; but my object is attained! Nobody can possibly have traced me from All Saints’ Terrace to this address.
“After paying my landlady the necessary forfeit for leaving her without notice, I arranged with her son that he should take my boxes in a cab to the cloak-room at the nearest railway station, and send me the ticket moncler men sale in a letter, to wait my application for it at the post-office. While he went his way in one cab, I went mine in another, with a few things for the night in my little hand-bag.
“I drove straight to the milliner’s shop, which I had observed, when I was there yesterday, had a back entrance into a mews, for the apprentices to go in and out by. I went in at once, leaving the cab waiting for me at the door. ‘A man is following me,’ I said, ‘and I want to get rid of him. Here is my cab fare; wait ten minutes before you give it to the driver, and let me out at once by the back way!’ In a moment I was out in the mews; in another, I was in the next street; in a third, I hailed a passing omnibus, and was a free woman again.
“Having now cut off all communication between me and my last lodgings, the next precaution (in case Midwinter o moncler jackets r Armadale are watched) is to cut off all communication, for some days to come at least, between me and the hotel. I have written to Midwinter — making my supposititious mother once more the excuse — to say that I am tied to my nursing duties, and that we must communicate by writing only for the present. Doubtful as I still am of who my hidden enemy really is, I can do no more to defend myself than I have done now.
“August 4th.— The two friends at the hotel had both written to me. Midwinter expresses his regret at our separation, in the tenderest terms. Armadale writes an entreaty for help under very awkward circumstances. A letter from Major Milroy has been forwarded to him from the great house, and he incloses it in his letter to me.
“Having left the seaside, and placed his daughter safely at the school originally chosen moncler sale womens jackets for her (in the neighborhood of Ely), the major appears to have returned to Thorpe Ambrose at the close of last week; to have heard then, for the first time, the reports about Armadale and me; and to have written instantly to Armadale to tell him so.
“The letter is stern and short. Major Milroy dismisses the report as unworthy of credit, because it is impossible for him to believe in such an act of ‘cold-blooded treachery,’ as the scandal would imply, if the scandal were true. He simply writes to warn Armadale that, if he is not more careful in his actions for the future, he must resign all pretensions to Miss Milroy’s hand. ‘I neither expect, nor wish for, an answer to this’ (the letter ends), ‘for I desire to receive no mere protestations in words. By your conduct, and by your conduct alone, I shall judge you as time goes Moncler Outlet on. Let me also add that I positively forbid you to consider this letter as an excuse for violating the terms agreed on between us, by writing again to my daughter. You have no need to justify yourself in her eyes, for I fortunately removed her from Thorpe Ambrose before this abominable report had time to reach her; and I shall take good care, for her sake, that she is not agitated and unsettled by hearing it where she is now.’
“Armadale’s petition to me, under these circumstances, entreats (as I am the innocent cause of the new attack on his character) that I will write to the major to absolve him of all indiscretion in the matter, and to say that he could not, in common politeness, do otherwise than accompany me to London.
“I forgive the impudence of his request, in consideration of the news that he sends me. It is certa inly another circumstance in my favor that the scandal at Thorpe Ambrose is not to be allowed to reach Miss Milroy’s ears. With her temper (if she did hear it) she might do something desperate in the way of claiming her lover, and might compromise me seriously. As for my own course with Armadale, it is easy enough. I shall quiet him by promising to write to Major Milroy; and I shall take the liberty, in my own private interests, of not keeping my word.
“Nothing in the least suspicious has happened to-day. Whoever my enemies are, they have lost me, and between this and the time when I leave England they shall not find me again. I have been to the post-office, and have got the ticket for my luggage, inclosed to me in a letter from All Saints’ Terrace, as I directed. The luggage itself I shall still leave at the cloak-room, un moncler sale til I see the way before me more clearly than I see it now.
“August 5th.— Two letters again from the hotel. Midwinter writes to remind me, in the prettiest possible manner, that he will have lived long enough in the parish by to-morrow to be able to get our marriage-license, and that he proposes applying for it in the usual way at Doctors’ Commons. Now, if I am ever to say it, is the time to say No. I can’t say No. There is the plain truth — and there is an end of it!
“Armadale’s letter is a letter of farewell. He thanks me for my kindness in consenting to write to the major, and bids me good-by, till we meet again at Naples. He has learned from his friend that there are private reasons which will oblige him to forbid himself the pleasure of being present at our marriage. Under these circumstances, there is nothing to keep moncler jacket sale him in London. He has made all his business arrangements; he goes to Somersetshire by to-night’s train; and, after staying some time with Mr. Brock, he will sail for the Mediterranean from the Bristol Channel (in spite of Midwinter’s objections) in his own yacht.
“The letter incloses a jeweler’s box, with a ring in it — Armadale’s present to me on my marriage. It is a ruby — but rather a small one, and set in the worst possible taste. He would have given Miss Milroy a ring worth ten times the money, if it had been her marriage present. There is no more hateful creature, in my opinion, than a miserly young man. I wonder whether his trumpery little yacht will drown him?
“I am so excited and fluttered, I hardly know what I am writing. Not that I shrink from what is coming — I only feel as if I was being hurried on faster than moncler sale for kids I quite like to go. At this rate, if nothing happens, Midwinter will have married me by the end of the week. And then —!
“August 6th.— If anything could startle me now, I should feel startled by the news that has reached me to-day. ③

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