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John Caldigate eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 617 pages of information about John Caldigate.

‘Poor mamma is not quite well,’ said the daughter.  ’She has headaches so often, and she has one now.  And papa has not come back from the bank.  I have been gardening and am all——.’  Then she stopped and blushed, as though ashamed of herself for saying so much.

’I am sorry Mrs. Bolton is unwell.  I will not go the ceremony of leaving a card, as I hope to able to come again to thank her for her kindness before I went on my travels.  Will you tell your father that I called?’ Then he mounted his horse, feeling, as he did so, that he was throwing away an opportunity which kind fortune had given him.  There they were together, he and this girl of whom he had dreamed;—­and now he was leaving her, because he did not know how to hold her in conversation for ten minutes!  But it was true, and he had to leave her.  He could not instantly tell her how he admired her, how he loved her, how he had thought of her, and how completely she had realised all his fondest dreams.  When on his horse, he turned round, and, lifting his hat to her, took a last glance.  It could not have been otherwise, he said to himself.  He had been sure that she would grow up to be exactly that which he had found her.  To have supposed that Nature could have been untrue to such promises as had been made then, would have been to suppose Nature a liar.

Just outside the gate he met the old banker, who, according to his daily custom, had walked back from the town.  ‘Yes,’ said Mr. Bolton, ’I remember you,—­I remember you very well.  So you found a lot of gold?’

‘I got some.’

’You have been one of the few fortunate, I hear.  I hope you will be able to keep it, and to make a good use of it.  My compliments to your father.  Good evening.’

’I shall take an early opportunity of paying my respects again to Mrs. Bolton, who, I am sorry to hear, is not well enough to see me,’ said Caldigate, preventing the old curmudgeon from escaping with his intended rapidity.

’She is unfortunately often an invalid, sir,—­and feels therefore that she has no right to exact from any one the ceremony of morning visits.  Good evening sir.’

But he cared not much for this coldness.  Having found where the gold lay at this second Ahalala,—­that the gold was real gold,—­he did not doubt but that he would be able to make good his mining operations.

Chapter XV

Again At Pollington

On his arrival at Pollington, all the Shands welcomed him as though he had been the successful son or successful brother who had gone out from among them; and spoke of ‘Poor Dick’ as being the unsuccessful son or unsuccessful brother,—­as indeed he was.  There did not seem to be the slightest anger against him, in that he had thriven and had left Dick behind him in such wretched poverty.  There was no just ground for anger, indeed.  He was well aware of that.  He had done his duty by Dick

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