“You might smarten yourself with that change, Elmore,” she addressed him, ignoring his companion. “There’s folks coming back for it. Two-dollar bill, wa’n’t it? Fifty cents—seventy-five—dollar’n a half. That’s a Yankee dime, an’ you kin march straight back with it. They don’t pass but for nine cents, as you’re old enough to know. Keep twenty-five cents for your dinner—you’ll get most for the money at the Barker House—an’ bring me back another quarter. Better go an’ get your victuals now—it’s gone twelve—while they’re hot.”
Elmore took his instructions without visible demur; and then, as Lorne had not seen fit to detach himself, performed the ceremony of introduction. As he performed it he drew one foot back and bowed himself, which seemed obscurely to facilitate it. The suspicion faded out of Mrs Crow’s tired old sharp eyes under the formula, and she said she was pleased to make our friend’s acquaintance.
“Mr Murchison’s changed some since the old days at the Collegiate,” Elmore explained, “but he ain’t any different under his coat. He’s practisin’ the law.”
“Lawyers,” Mrs Crow observed, “are folks I like to keep away from.”
“Quite right, too,” responded Lorne, unabashed. “And so you’ve got my friend here back on the farm, Mrs Crow?”
“Well, yes, he’s back on the farm, an’ when he’s wore out his Winnipeg clothes and his big ideas, we’re lookin’ to make him some use.” Mrs Crow’s intention, though barbed, was humorous, and her son grinned broadly.
“There’s more money in the law,” he remarked “once you get a start. Here’s Mr Murchison goin’ to run the Ormiston case; his old man’s down sick, an’ I guess it depends on Lorne now whether Ormiston gets off or goes to penitentiary.”
Mrs Crow’s face tied itself up into criticism as she looked our young man up and down. “Depends upon you, does it?” she commented. “Well, all I’ve got to say is it’s a mighty young dependence. Coming on next week, ain’t it? You won’t be much older by then. Yes’m,” she turned to business, “I don’t say but what it’s high for rhubarb, but there ain’t another bunch in the market, and won’t be for a week yet.”
Under cover of this discussion Lorne bade the Crows good morning, retreating in the rear of the lady who found the rhubarb high. Mrs Crow’s drop of acid combined with his saving sense of the humour of it to adjust all his courage and his confidence, and with a braver face than ever he involuntarily hastened his steps to keep pace with his happy chance.