“Do you think you’ll get a look in, Lorne?” asked Dr Harry.
“Oh, not a chance of it. The old man’s as keen as a razor on the case, and you’d think Warner never had one before! If I get a bit of grubbing to do, under supervision, they’ll consider I ought to be pleased.” It was the sunniest possible tone of grumbling; it enlisted your sympathy by its very acknowledgement that it had not a leg to stand on.
“They’re pretty wild about it out Moneida way,” said Dr Harry. “My father says the township would put down the bail three times over.”
“They swear by the Squire out there,” said Mr Horace Williams, liberally applying his napkin to his moustache. “He treated some of them more than square when the fall wheat failed three years running, about ten years back; do you remember, Mr Murchison? Lent them money at about half the bank rate, and wasn’t in an awful sweat about getting it in at that either.”
“And wasn’t there something about his rebuilding the school-house at his own expense not so long ago?” asked Dr Drummond.
“Just what he did. I wanted to send Rawlins out and make a story of it—we’d have given it a column, with full heads; but the old man didn’t like it. It’s hard to know what some people will like. But it was my own foolishness for asking. A thing like that is public property.”
“There’s a good deal of feeling,” said Lorne. “So much that I understand the bank is moving for change of venue.”
“I hope they won’t get it,” said Dr Drummond sharply. “A strong local feeling is valuable evidence in a case like this. I don’t half approve this notion that a community can’t manage its own justice when it happens to take an interest in the case. I’ve no more acquaintance with the Squire than ‘How d’ye do?’ and I don’t know his son from Adam; but I’d serve on the jury tomorrow if the Crown asked it, and there’s many more like me.”
Mr Williams, who had made a brief note on his shirt cuff, restored his pencil to his waistcoat pocket. “I shall oppose a change of venue,” said he.
It was confidently expected by the Murchison family that when Stella was old enough she would be a good deal in society. Stella, without doubt, was well equipped for society; she had exactly those qualities which appealed to it in Elgin, among which I will mention two—the quality of being able to suggest that she was quite as good as anybody without saying so, and the even more important quality of not being any better. Other things being equal—those common worldly standards that prevailed in Elgin as well as anywhere else in their degree—other things being equal, this second simple quality was perhaps the most important of all. Mr and Mrs Murchison made no claim and small attempt upon society. One doubts whether, with children coming fast and hard times long at the door, they gave the subject