’Your brothers will come round, I suppose. Robert has been very angry with me, I know. But he is a man of the world and a man of sense.’
’We must take it as it will come, John. Of course it would be very much to me to have my father and mother restored to me. It would be very much to know that my brothers were again my friends. But when I remember how I prayed yesterday but for one thing, and that now, to-day, that one thing has come to me;—how I have got that which, when I waked this morning, seemed to me to be all the world to me, the want of which made my heart so sick that even my baby could not make me glad, I feel that nothing ought now to make me unhappy. I have got you, John, and everything else is nothing.’ As he stooped in the dark to kiss her again among the rose-bushes, he felt that it was almost worth his while to have been in prison.
After dinner there came a message to them across the ferry from Mr. Holt. Would they be so good as to walk down to the edge of the great dike, opposite to Twopenny Farm, at nine o’clock? As a part of the message, Mr. Holt sent word that at that hour the moon would be rising. Of course they went down to the dike,—Mr. Caldigate, John Caldigate, and Hester there, outside Mr. Holt’s farmyard, just far enough to avoid danger to the hay-ricks and corn-stacks there was blazing an enormous bonfire. All the rotten timber about the place and two or three tar-barrels had been got together, and there were collected all the inhabitants of the two parishes. The figures of the boys and girls and of the slow rustics with their wives could be seen moving about indistinctly across the water by the fluttering flame of the bonfire. And their own figures, too, were observed in the moonlight, and John Caldigate was welcomed back to his home by a loud cheer from all his neighbours.
‘I did not see much of it myself,’ Mr. Holt said afterwards, ’because me and my missus was busy among the stacks all the time, looking after the sparks. The bonfire might a’ been too big, you know.’
How Mrs. Bolton Was Quite Conquered
Nearly a week passed over their heads at Puritan Grange before anything further was either done or said, or even written, as to the return of John Caldigate to his own home and to his own wife. In the meantime, both Mrs. Robert and Mrs. Daniel had gone out to Folking and made visits of ceremony,—visits which were intended to signify their acknowledgment that Mrs. John Caldigate was Mrs. John Caldigate. With Mrs. Daniel the matter was quite ceremonious and short. Mrs. Robert suggested something as to a visit into Cambridge, saying that her husband would be delighted if Hester and Mr. Caldigate would come and dine and sleep. Hester immediately felt that something had been gained, but she declined the proposed visit for the present. ‘We have both of us,’ she said, ’gone through so much, that we are