The Imperialist eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 394 pages of information about The Imperialist.
easily spread?  The town, moreover, had a sapience of its own.  Was it likely that the bank would bring a case so publicly involving its character and management without knowing pretty well what it was about?  The town would not be committed beyond the circle of young Ormiston’s intimate friends, which was naturally small if you compared it with the public; the town wasn’t going to be surprised at anything that might be proved.  On the other hand, the town was much more vividly touched than the country by the accident which had made Lorne Murchison practically sole counsel for the defence, announced as it was by the Express with every appreciation of its dramatic value.  Among what the Express called “the farming community” this, in so far as it had penetrated, was regarded as a simple misfortune, a dull blow to expectancy, which expectancy had some work to survive.  Elgin, with its finer palate for sensation, saw in it heightened chances, both for Lorne and for the case; and if any ratepayer within its limits had remained indifferent to the suit, the fact that one side of it had been confided to so young and so “smart” a fellow townsman would have been bound to draw him into the circle of speculation.  Youth in a young country is a symbol wearing all its value.  It stands not only for what it is.  The trick of augury invests it, at a glance, with the sum of its possibilities, the augurs all sincere, confident, and exulting.  They have been justified so often; they know, in their wide fair fields of opportunity, just what qualities will produce what results.  There is thus a complacence among adolescent peoples which is vaguely irritating to their elders; but the greybeards need not be over-captious; it is only a question of time, pathetically short-lived in the history of the race.  Sanguine persons in Elgin were freely disposed to “bet on” Lorne Murchison, and there were none so despondent as to take the view that he would not come out of it, somehow; with an added personal significance.  To make a spoon is a laudable achievement, but it may be no mean business to spoil a horn.

As the Express put it, there was as little standing room for ladies and gentlemen in the courthouse the first day of the Spring Assizes as there was for horses in the Court House Square.  The County Crown Attorney was unusually, oddly, reinforced by Cruickshank, of Toronto—­the great Cruickshank, K.C., probably the most distinguished criminal lawyer in the Province.  There were those who considered that Cruickshank should not have been brought down, that it argued undue influence on the part of the bank, and his retainer was a fierce fan to the feeling in Moneida; but there is no doubt that his appearance added all that was possible to the universal interest in the case.  Henry Cruickshank was an able man and, what was rarer a fastidious politician.  He had held office in the Dominion Cabinet, and had resigned it because of a difference with his colleagues in the application of a principle; they called him, after a British politician of lofty but abortive views, the Canadian Renfaire.  He had that independence of personality, that intellectual candour, and that touch of magnetism which combine to make a man interesting in his public relations.  Cruickshank’s name alone would have filled the courthouse, and people would have gone away quoting him.

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The Imperialist from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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