Sir Marmaduke, after having been questioned for an entire afternoon, left the House with extreme disgust. He was so convinced of his own failure, that he felt that his career as a Colonial Governor must be over. Surely they would never let him go back to his islands after such an exposition as he had made of his own ignorance. He hurried off into a cab, and was ashamed to be seen of men. But the members of the Committee thought little or nothing about it. The Major, and those who sided with him, had been anxious to entrap their witness into contradictions and absurdities, for the furtherance of their own object; and for the furtherance of theirs, the Under-Secretary from the Office and the supporters of Government had endeavoured to defend their man. But, when the affair was over, if no special admiration had been elicited for Sir Marmaduke, neither was there expressed any special reprobation. The Major carried on his Committee over six weeks, and succeeded in having his blue-book printed; but, as a matter of course, nothing further came of it; and the Court of Chancery in the Mandarin Islands still continues to hold its own, and to do its work, in spite of the absurdities displayed in its construction. Major Magruder has had his day of success, and now feels that Othello’s occupation is gone. He goes no more to the Colonial Office, lives among his friends on the memories of his Committee, not always to their gratification, and is beginning to think that as his work is done, he may as well resign Killicrankie to some younger politician. Poor Sir Marmaduke remembered his defeat with soreness long after it had been forgotten by all others who had been present, and was astonished when he found that the journals of the day, though they did in some curt fashion report the proceedings of the Committee, never uttered a word of censure against him, as they had not before uttered a word of praise for that pearl of a Governor who had been examined before him.
On the following morning he went to the Colonial Office by appointment, and then he saw the young Irish Under-Secretary whom he had so much dreaded. Nothing could be more civil than was the young Irish Under-Secretary, who told him that he had better of course stay in town till the Committee was over, though it was not probable that he would be wanted again. When the Committee had done its work he would be allowed to remain six weeks on service to prepare for his journey back. If he wanted more time after that he could ask for leave of absence. So Sir Marmaduke left the Colonial Office with a great weight off his mind, and blessed that young Irish Secretary as he went.
SIR MARMADUKE AT WILLESDEN