The News Reaches Cambridge
The tidings of John Caldigate’s pardon reached Cambridge on the Saturday morning, and was communicated in various shapes. Official letters from the Home Office were written to the governor of the jail and to the sub-sheriff, to Mr. Seely who was still acting as attorney on behalf of the prisoner, and to Caldigate himself. The latter was longer than the others, and contained a gracious expression of Her Majesty’s regret that he as an innocent person should have been subjected to imprisonment. The Secretary of State also was described as being keenly sensible of the injustice which had been perpetrated by the unfortunate and most unusual circumstances of the case. As the Home Office had decided that the man was to be considered innocent, it decided also on the expression of its opinion without a shadow of remaining doubt. And the news reached Cambridge in other ways by the same post. William Bolton wrote both to his father and brother, and Mr. Brown the Under-Secretary sent a private letter to the old squire at Folking, of which further mention shall be made. Before church time on the Sunday morning, the fact that John Caldigate was to be released, or had been released from prison, was known to all Cambridge.
Caldigate himself had borne his imprisonment on the whole well. He had complained but little to those around him, and had at once resolved to endure the slowly passing two years with silent fortitude,—as a brave man will resolve to bear any evil for which there is no remedy. But a more wretched man than he was after the first week of bitterness could hardly be found. Fortitude has no effect in abating such misery other than what may come from an absence of fretful impatience. The man who endures all that the tormentors can do to him without a sign, simply refuses to acknowledge the agonies inflicted. So it was with Caldigate. Though he obeyed with placid readiness all the prison instructions, and composed his features and seemed almost to smile when that which was to be exacted from him was explained,