The Imperialist eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 394 pages of information about The Imperialist.
Mrs Milburn and her sister—­vaguely felt—­that you did not come upon that thinness of nostril, and slope of shoulder, and set of elbow at every corner.  They must have got it somewhere.  A Filkin tradition prevailed, said to have originated in Nova Scotia:  the Filkins never had been accessible, but if they wanted to keep to themselves, let them.  In this respect Dora Milburn, the only child, was said to be her mother’s own daughter.  The shoulders, at all events, testified to it; and the young lady had been taught to speak, like Mrs Milburn, with what was known as an “English accent.”  The accent in general use in Elgin was borrowed—­let us hope temporarily—­from the other side of the line.  It suffered local modifications and exaggerations, but it was clearly an American product.  The English accent was thoroughly affected, especially the broad “a.”  The time may come when Elgin will be at considerable pains to teach itself the broad “a,” but that is in the embroidery of the future, and in no way modifies the criticism of Dora Milburn.

Lorne Murchison, however, was invited to the dance.  The invitation reached him through the post:  coming home from office early on Saturday he produced it from his pocket.  Mrs Murchison and Abby sat on the verandah enjoying the Indian summer afternoon; the horse chestnuts dropped crashing among the fallen leaves, the roadside maples blazed, the quiet streets ran into smoky purple, and one belated robin hopped about the lawn.  Mrs Murchison had just remarked that she didn’t know why, at this time of year, you always felt as if you were waiting for something.

“Well, I hope you feel honoured,” remarked Abby.  Not one of them would have thought that Lorne should feel especially honoured; but the insincerity was so obvious that it didn’t matter.  Mrs Murchison, cocking her head to read the card, tried hard not to look pleased.

“Mrs Milburn.  At Home,” she read.  “Dancing.  Well she might be at home dancing, for all me!  Why couldn’t she just write you a little friendly note, or let Dora do it?  It’s that Ormiston case,” she went on shrewdly.  “They know you’re taking a lot of trouble about it.  And the least they could do, too.”

Lorne sat down on the edge of the verandah with his hands in his trousers pockets, and stuck his long legs out in front of him.  “Oh, I don’t know,” he said.  “They have the name of being nifty, but I haven’t got anything against the Milburns.”

“Name!” ejaculated Mrs Murchison.  “Now long ago was it the Episcopalians began that sewing-circle business for the destitute clergy of Saskatchewan?”

“Mother!” put in Abby, with deprecation.

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The Imperialist from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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