John Caldigate eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 777 pages of information about John Caldigate.

’Think what two hundred pounds would be, Jemima;—­in the way of furniture.’

’That’s papa’s putting in, I know.  I hate all that hankering after filthy lucre.  You ought to be ashamed of wanting to go so far away just when you’re engaged You wouldn’t care about leaving me, I suppose the least.’

‘I should always be thinking of you.’

’Yes, you would!  But suppose I wasn’t thinking of you.  Suppose I took to thinking of somebody else.  How would it be then?’

‘You wouldn’t do that, Jemima.’

‘You ought to know when you’re well off, Tom.’  By this time he had recovered the inch and perhaps a little more.  ’You ought to feel that you’ve plenty to console you.’

‘So I do.  Duty! duty!  England expects that every man——­’

‘That’s your idea of consolation, is it?’ And away went the camp-stool half a yard.

‘You believe in duty, don’t you, Jemima?’

’In a husband’s duty to his wife, I do;—­and in a young man’s duty to his sweetheart.’

‘And in a father’s to his children.’

‘That’s as may be,’ said she, getting up and walking away into the kitchen-garden.  He of course accompanied her, and before they got to the house had promised her not to sigh for the delights of Sydney, nor for the perils of adventure any more.

Chapter LIV

Judge Bramber

A secretary of State who has to look after the police and the magistrates, to answer questions in the House of Commons, and occasionally to make a telling speech in defence of his colleagues, and, in addition to this, is expected to perform the duties of a practical court of appeal in criminal cases, must have something to do.  To have to decide whether or no some poor wretch shall be hanged, when, in spite of the clearest evidence, humanitarian petitions by the dozen overwhelm him with claims for mercy, must be a terrible responsibility.  ’No, your Majesty, I think we won’t hang him.  I think we’ll send him to penal servitude for life;—­if your Majesty pleases.’  That is so easy, and would be so pleasant.  Why should any one grumble at so right royal a decision?  But there are the newspapers, always so prone to complain;—­and the Secretary has to acknowledge that he must be strong enough to hang his culprits in spite of petitions, or else he must give up that office.  But when the evidence is not clear, the case is twice more difficult.  The jury have found their verdict, and the law intends that the verdict of a jury shall be conclusive.  When a man has been declared to be guilty by twelve of his countrymen,—­he is guilty, let the facts have been what they may, and let the twelve have been ever so much in error.  Majesty, however, can pardon guilt, and hence arises some awkward remedy for the mistakes of jurymen.  But an unassisted Majesty cannot itself investigate all things,—­is not, in fact, in this country supposed to perform any duties of that sort,—­a

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John Caldigate from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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