“He said he would be willing to take a seat in a Legislature and work up,” Alec went on. “Ontario for choice, because he thought the people of this Province more advanced.”
“There’s a representative committee being formed to give the inhabitants of the poor-house a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day,” said Advena. “He might begin with that.”
“I dare say he would if anybody told him. He’s just dying to be taken into the public service,” Alec said. “He’s in dead earnest about it. He thinks this country’s a great place because it gives a man the chance of a public career.”
“Why is it,” asked Advena “that when people have no capacity for private usefulness they should be so anxious to serve the public?”
“Oh, come,” said Lorne, “Hesketh has an income of his own. Why should he sweat for his living? We needn’t pride ourselves on being so taken up with getting ours. A man like that is in a position to do some good, and I hope Hesketh will get a chance if he stays over here. We’ll soon see how he speaks. He’s going to follow Farquharson at Jordanville on Thursday week.”
“I wonder at Farquharson,” said his father.
By this time the candidature of Mr Lorne Murchison was well in the public eye. The Express announced it in a burst of beaming headlines, with a biographical sketch and a “cut” of its young fellow-townsman. Horace Williams, whose hand was plain in every line apologized for the brevity of the biography—quality rather than quantity, he said; it was all good, and time would make it better. This did not prevent the Mercury observing the next evening that the Liberal organ had omitted to state the age at which the new candidate was weaned. The Toronto papers commented according to their party bias, but so far as the candidate was concerned there was lack of the material of criticism. If he had achieved little for praise he had achieved nothing for detraction. There was no inconsistent public utterance, no doubtful transaction, no scandalous paper to bring forward to his detriment. When the fact that he was but twenty-eight years of age had been exhausted in elaborate ridicule, little more was available. The policy he championed, however, lent itself to the widest discussion, and it was instructive to note how the Opposition press, while continuing to approve the great principle involved, found material for gravest criticism in the Government’s projected application of it. Interest increased in the South Fox by-election as its first touchstone, and gathered almost romantically about Lorne Murchison as its spirited advocate. It was commonly said that whether he was returned or not on this occasion, his political future was assured; and his name was carried up and down the Dominion with every new wind of imperial doctrine that blew across the Atlantic. He himself felt splendidly that he rode upon the crest of a wave of history. However the event appeared which was hidden beyond the horizon, the great luck of that buoyant emotion, of that thrilling suspense, would be his in a very special way. He was exhilarated by the sense of crisis, and among all the conferences and calculations that armed him for his personal struggle, he would now and then breathe in his private soul, “Choose quickly, England,” like a prayer.