“I guess they know what they’re about,” returned Mr Milburn. “It’s a bad knock for the Grits, old Farquharson having to drop out. He’s getting up in years, but he’s got a great hold here. He’ll be a dead loss in votes to his party. I always said our side wouldn’t have a chance till the old man was out of the way.”
Mr Winter twisted the watch-chain across his protuberant waistcoat, and his chin sank in reflective folds above his neck-tie. Above that again his nose drooped over his moustache, and his eyelids over his eyes, which sought the floor. Altogether he looked sunk, like an overfed bird, in deferential contemplation of what Mr Milburn was saying.
“They’ve nobody to touch him, certainly in either ability or experience,” he replied, looking up to do it, with a handsome air of concession. “Now that Martin’s dead, and Jim Fawkes come that howler over Pink River, they’ll have their work cut out for them to find a man. I hear Fawkes takes it hard, after all he’s done for ’em, not to get the nomination, but they won’t hear of it. Quite right, too; he’s let too many people in over that concession of his to be popular, even among his friends.”
“I suppose he has. Dropped anything there yourself?—No? Nor I. When a thing gets to the boom stage I say let it alone, even if there’s gold in it and you’ve got a School of Mines man to tell you so. Fawkes came out of it at the small end himself, I expect, but that doesn’t help him any in the eyes of businessmen.”
“I hear,” said Walter Winter, stroking his nose, “that old man Parsons has come right over since the bosses at Ottawa have put so much money on preference trade with the old country. He says he was a Liberal once, and may be a Liberal again, but he doesn’t see his way to voting to give his customers blankets cheaper than he can make them, and he’ll wait till the clouds roll by.”