John Caldigate eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 617 pages of information about John Caldigate.

Then the mayor gave Caldigate to understand that he must hold himself as committed to stand his trial for bigamy at the next Assizes for the County.

Chapter XXX

The Conclave at Puritan Grange

John Caldigate was committed, and liberated on bail.  This occurred in Cambridge on the Wednesday after the christening; and before the Saturday night following, all the Boltons were thoroughly convinced that this wretched man, who had taken from them their daughter and their sister, was a bigamist, and that poor Hester, though a mother, was not a wife.  The evidence against him, already named, was very strong, but they had been put in possession of other, and as they thought more damning evidence than any to which he had alluded in telling his version of the story to Robert Bolton.  The woman had produced, and had shown to Robert Bolton, the envelope of a letter addressed in John Caldigate’s handwriting to ‘Mrs. Caldigate, Ahalala, Nobble,’ which letter had been dated inside from Sydney, and which envelope bore the Sydney postmark.  Caldigate’s handwriting was peculiar, and the attorney declared that he could himself swear to it.  The letter itself she also produced, but it told less than the envelope.  It began as such a letter might begin, ‘Dearest Feemy,’ and ended ‘Yours, ever and always, J.C.’  As she herself had pointed out, a man such as Caldigate does not usually call his wife by that most cherished name in writing to her.  The letter itself referred almost altogether to money matters, though perhaps hardly to such as a man generally discusses with his wife.  Certain phrases seemed to imply a distinct action.  She had better sell these shares or those, if she could, for a certain price,—­and suchlike.  But she explained, that they both when they married had been possessed of mining shares, represented by scrip which passed from hand to hand readily, and that each still retained his or her own property.  But among the various small documents which she had treasured up for use, should they be needed for some possible occasion such as this, was a note, which had not, indeed, been posted, but which purported to have been written by the minister, Allan, to Caldigate himself, offering to perform the marriage at Ahalala, but advising him to have the ceremony performed at some more settled place, where an established church community with a permanent church or chapel admitted the proper custody of registers.  Nothing could be more sensible, or written in a better spirit than this letter, though the language was not that of an educated man.  This letter, Caldigate had, she said, showed to her, and she had retained it.  Then she brought forward two handkerchiefs which she herself had marked with her new name, Euphemia Caldigate, and the date of the year.  This had been done, she declared, immediately after her marriage, and the handkerchiefs seemed by their appearance to justify the assertion.  Caldigate had admitted a promise, admitted that he had lived with the woman, admitted that she had passed by his name, admitted that there had been a conversation with the clergyman in regard to his marriage.  And now there were three others, besides the woman herself, who were ready to swear,—­who had sworn,—­that they had witnessed the ceremony!

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John Caldigate from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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