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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.
Well written, interesting story line.