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John Caldigate

Anthony Trollope

Book Overview: 

After a rather dissolute youth and having been disowned by his father, John Caldigate sets sail for Australia with his friend Dick Shand hoping to make his fortune in the goldfields in New South Wales. On the voyage, he meets Euphemia Smith and they conduct an indiscreet affair aboard. After various problems, Caldigate literally strikes gold and returns to Sydney where he meets Euphemia again and they settle, living as man and wife. After a time, they quarrel and Caldigate returns to England. On his return, Caldigate meets and marries a previous acquaintance, Hester Bolton, and they have a son. He sets himself up as his father’s heir and life seems perfect. However, Euphemia suddenly reappears and claims they were married in Australia, making Caldigate a bigamist and his son illegitimate. Caldigate is tried, found guilty and sent to prison, still protesting his innocence. His wife stands by him. However, his innocence is proved when a postmark on a letter vital to the prosecution case is found to be forged and when Dick Shand returns from overseas to speak on his behalf. All ends happily, as Caldigate is reconciled with his wife’s family.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .re that gold, gold that they could see with their eyes in its raw condition, would tempt them more surely than all his eloquence. In the engine-house the three of them got into a box or truck that was suspended over the mouth of a deep shaft, and soon found themselves descending through the bowels of the earth. They went down about four hundred feet, and as they were reaching the bottom Crinkett remarked that it was 'a goodish deep hole all to belong to one man.' 'Yes,' he added as Caldigate extricated himself from the truck, 'and there's a precious lot more gold to come out of it yet, I can tell you.'

In all the sights to be seen about the world there is no sight in which there is less to be seen than in a gold-mine. The two young men were made to follow their conductor along a very dirty underground gallery for about a quarter of a mile, and then they came to four men working with picks in a rough sort of chamber, and four others driving holes in the walls. Th. . . Read More