‘Proof is proof,’ said Curlydown. ’I don’t think you’ll ever get him out. The time has gone by. But you may do just as much here as there.’
’I’m sure we shall get him out. I’ll never rest in my bed till we have got him out.’
’Mr. Justice Bramber won’t mind whether you rest in your bed or not,—nor yet the Secretary of State.’
‘Sir John Joram—’ began Bagwax. In these discussions Sir John Joram was always his main staff.
’Sir John Joram has got other fish to fry before this time. It’s a marvel to me, Bagwax, that they should give way to all this nonsense. If anything could be done, it could be done in half the time,—and if anything could be done, it could be done here. By the time you’re back from Sydney, Caldigate’s time will be half out. Why don’t you let Sir John see your proof? You don’t want to lose your trip, I suppose.’
Caldigate was languishing in prison, and that poor, nameless lady was separated from her husband, and he had the proof lying there on the table before him,—sufficient proof, as he did in his heart believe! But how often does it fall to the lot of a post-office clerk to be taken round the world free of expense? The way Curlydown put it was ill-natured and full of envy. Bagwax was well aware that Curlydown was instigated solely by envy. But still, these were his own convictions,—and Bagwax was in truth a soft-hearted, conscientious man.
‘I do think it ought to be enough for any Secretary of State,’ said he, ’and I’ll go to Sir John Joram to-morrow. Of course, I should like to see the world;—who wouldn’t? But I’d rather be the means of restoring that fellow to his poor wife, than be sent to all the four quarters of the globe with a guinea a-day for personal expenses.’ In this way he nobly made up his mind to go at once to Sir John Joram.
Sir John Joram’s Chambers
Mr. Curlydown’s insinuations had been very cruel, but also very powerful. Bagwax, as he considered the matter that night in his bed, did conscientiously think that a discreet and humane Secretary of State would let the unfortunate husband out of prison on the evidence which he (Bagwax) had already collected. My readers will not perhaps agree with him. The finding of a jury and the sentence of a judge must