“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, his voice dropping, with a hint of tiredness, to another level, “I have the honour to stand for your suffrages as candidate in the Liberal interest for the riding of South Fox in the Dominion House of Commons the day after tomorrow. I solicit your support, and I hereby pledge myself to justify it by every means in my power. But it would be idle to disguise from you that while I attach all importance to the immediate interests in charge of the Liberal party, and if elected shall use my best efforts to further them, the great task before that party, in my opinion, the overshadowing task to which, I shall hope, in my place and degree to stand committed from the beginning, is the one which I have endeavoured to bring before your consideration this evening.”
They gave him a great appreciation, and Mr Cruickshank, following, spoke in complimentary terms of the eloquent appeal made by the “young and vigorous protagonist” of the imperial cause, but proceeded to a number of quite other and apparently more important grounds why he should be elected. The Hon. Mr Tellier’s speech—the Minister was always kept to the last—was a defence of the recent dramatic development of the Government’s railway policy, and a reminder of the generous treatment Elgin was receiving in the Estimates for the following year—thirty thousand dollars for a new Drill Hall, and fifteen thousand for improvements to the post-office. It was a telling speech, with the chink of hard cash in every sentence, a kind of audit by a chartered accountant of the Liberal books of South Fox, showing good sound reason why the Liberal candidate should be returned on Thursday, if only to keep the balance right. The audience listened with practical satisfaction. “That’s Tellier all over,” they said to one another...
The effect in committee of what, in spite of the Hon. Mr Tellier’s participation, I must continue to call the speech of the evening, may be gathered from a brief colloquy between Mr Bingham and Mr Williams, in the act of separating at the door of the opera house.
“I don’t know what it was worth to preference trade,” said Bingham, “but it wasn’t worth a hill o’ beans to his own election.”
“He had as soft a snap,” returned Horace Williams, on the brink of tears—“as soft a snap as anybody ever had in this town. And he’s monkeyed it all away. All away.”
Both the local papers published the speech in full the following day. “If there’s anything in Manchester or Birmingham that Mr Lorne Murchison would like,” commented the Mercury editorially, “we understand he has only to call for it.”
The Milburns’ doorbell rang very early the morning of the election. The family and Alfred Hesketh were just sitting down to breakfast. Mr Hesketh was again the guest of the house. He had taken a run out to Vancouver with Mr Milburn’s partner, who had gone to settle a point or two in connection with the establishment of a branch there. The points had been settled and Hesketh, having learned more than ever, had returned to Elgin.