The Imperialist eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 308 pages of information about The Imperialist.
near enough politically to keep your securities up by virtue of her protection.  He was extremely satisfied with his own country; one saw in his talk the phenomenon of patriotism in double bloom, flower within flower.  I have mentioned his side whiskers:  he preserved that facial decoration of the Prince Consort; and the large steel engraving that represents Queen Victoria in a flowing habit and the Prince in a double-breasted frock coat and a stock, on horseback, hung over the mantelpiece in his drawing-room.  If the outer patriotism was a little vague, the inner had vigour enough.  Canada was a great place.  Mr Milburn had been born in the country, and had never “gone over” to England; Canada was good enough for him.  He was born, one might say, in the manufacturing interest, and inherited the complacent and Conservative political views of a tenderly nourished industry.  Mr Milburn was of those who were building up the country; with sufficient protection he was prepared to go on doing it long and loyally; meanwhile he admired the structure from all points of view.  As President of the Elgin Chamber of Commerce, he was enabled once a year to produce no end of gratifying figures; he was fond of wearing on such occasions the national emblem in a little enamelled maple leaf; and his portrait and biography occupied a full page in a sumptuous work entitled Canadians of Today, sold by subscription, where he was described as the “Father of the Elgin Boiler.”

Mr and Mrs Milburn were in the drawing-room to receive their young guests, a circumstance which alone imparted a distinction to the entertainment.  At such parties the appearance of the heads of the house was by no means invariable; frequently they went to bed.  The simple explanation was that the young people could stand late hours and be none the worse next day; their elders had to be more careful if they wanted to get down to business.  Moreover, as in all new societies, between the older and the younger generation there was a great gulf fixed, across which intercourse was difficult.  The sons and daughters, born to different circumstances, evolved their own conventions, the old people used the ways and manners of narrower days; one paralysed the other.  It might be gathered from the slight tone of patronage in the address of youth to age that the advantage lay with the former; but polite conversation, at best, was sustained with discomfort.  Such considerations, however, were far from operating with the Milburns.  Mrs Milburn would have said that they were characteristic of quite a different class of people; and so they were.

No one would have supposed, from the way in which the family disposed itself in the drawing-room, that Miss Filkin had only just finished making the claret cup, or that Dora had been cutting sandwiches till the last minute, or that Mrs Milburn had been obliged to have a distinct understanding with the maid—­Mrs Milburn’s servants were all “maids,” even the charwoman, who had buried three husbands—­on

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The Imperialist from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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