The Imperialist eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 308 pages of information about The Imperialist.
with reference to a dramatically bigger matter.  You saw the plot at once as he constructed it; the pipe ash became explicable in the seduction of Miss Belton’s charms.  The cunning net unwove itself, delicately and deliberately, to tangle round the lady.  There was in it that superiority in the art of legerdemain, of mere calm, astonishing manipulation, so applauded in regions where romance has not yet been quite trampled down by reason.  Lorne scored; he scored in face of probability, expectation, fact; it was the very climax and coruscation of score.  He scored not only by the cards he held but by the beautiful way he played them, if one may say so.  His nature came into this, his gravity and gentleness, his sympathy, his young angry irony.  To mention just one thing, there was the way he held Miss Belton up, after the exposure of her arts, as the lady for whom his client had so chivalric a regard that he had for some time refused to state his whereabouts at the hour the bank was entered in the fear of compromising her.  For this, no doubt, his client could have strangled him, but it operated, of course, to raise the poor fellow in the estimation of every body, with the possible exception of his employers.  When, after the unmistakable summing-up, the foreman returned in a quarter of an hour with the verdict of “Not guilty,” people noticed that the young man walked out of court behind his father with as drooping a head as if he had gone under sentence; so much so that by common consent he was allowed to slip quietly away.  Miss Belton departed, followed by the detective, whose services were promptly transferred to the prosecution, and by a proportion of those who scented further entertainment in her perfumed, perjured wake.  But the majority hung back, leaving their places slowly; it was Lorne the crowd wanted to shake hands with to say just a word of congratulation to, Lorne’s triumph that they desired to enhance by a hearty sentence, or at least an admiring glance.  Walter Winter was among the most genial.

“Young man,” he said, “what did I tell you?  Didn’t I tell you you ought to take this case?” Mr Winter, with his chest thrust out, plumed and strutted in justifiable pride of prophecy.  “Now, I’ll tell you another thing:  today’s event will do more for you than it has for Ormiston.  Mark my words!”

They were all of that opinion, all the fine foretellers of the profit Lorne should draw from his spirited and conspicuous success; they stood about in knots discussing it; to some extent it eclipsed the main interest and issue of the day, at that moment driving out, free and disconsolate, between the snake fences of the South Riding to Moneida Reservation.  The quick and friendly sense of opportunity was abroad on Lorne Murchison’s behalf; friends and neighbours and Dr Drummond, and people who hardly knew the fellow, exchanged wise words about what his chance would do for him.  What it would immediately do was present to nobody so clearly, however, as to Mr Henry Cruickshank, who decided that he would, after all, accept Dr Drummond’s invitation to spend the night with him, and find out the little he didn’t know already about this young man.

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The Imperialist from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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