John Caldigate eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 617 pages of information about John Caldigate.
he said.  ’There may be a pardon, of course;—­though I shall never believe it till I see it.  But though there were twenty pardons she ought not to go back to him.  The pardon does not alter the crime,—­and whether he was married in Australia, or whether he was not, she ought to think that he was, because the jury has said so.  If she had any feeling of feminine propriety she would shut herself up and call herself Miss Bolton.’

‘I don’t agree with you in the least,’ said the Squire; ’and I hope I may live to see a dozen little Caldigates running about on that lawn.’

And there were a few words upstairs on the subject between Mr. Smirkie and his wife—­for even Mrs. Smirkie and Aunt Polly at last submitted themselves to Dick’s energy.  ‘Indeed, then, if he comes out,’ said the wife, ‘I shall be very glad to see him at Plum-cum-Pippins.’  This was said in a voice which did not admit of contradiction, and was evidence at any rate that Dick’s visit to Babington had been successful in spite of the yellow trousers.

Chapter LII

The Fortunes of Bagwax

An altogether new idea had occurred to Bagwax as he sat in his office after his interview with Sir John Joram;—­and it was an idea of such a nature that he thought that he saw his way quite plain to a complete manifestation of the innocence of Caldigate, to a certainty of a pardon, and to an immediate end of the whole complication.  By a sudden glance at the evidence his eye had caught an object which in all his glances he had never before observed.  Then at once he went to work, and finding that certain little marks were distinctly legible, he became on a sudden violently hot,—­so that the sweat broke out on his forehead.  Here was the whole thing disclosed at once,—­disclosed to all the world if he chose to disclose it.  But if he did so, then there could not be any need for that journey to Sydney, which Sir John still thought to be expedient.  And this thing which he had now seen was not one within his own branch of work,—­was not a matter with which he was bound to be conversant.  Somebody else ought to have found it out.  His own knowledge was purely accidental.  There would be no disgrace to him in not finding it out.  But he had found it out.

Bagwax was a man who, in his official zeal and official capacity, had exercised his intellect far beyond the matters to which he was bound to apply himself in the mere performance of his duties.  Post-marks were his business; and had he given all his mind to postmarks, he would have sufficiently carried out that great doctrine of doing the duty which England expects from every man.  But he had travelled beyond postmarks, and had looked into many things.  Among other matters he had looked into penny stamps, twopenny stamps, and other stamps.  In post-office phraseology there is sometimes a confusion because the affixed effigy of her Majesty’s head, which represents

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John Caldigate from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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