They were all glad, every one of them, to turn their faces to the West again. The unready conception of things, the political concentration upon parish affairs, the cumbrous social machinery, oppressed them with its dull anachronism in a marching world; the problems of sluggish overpopulation clouded their eager outlook. These conditions might have been their inheritance. Perhaps Lorne Murchison was the only one who thanked Heaven consciously that it was not so; but there was no man among them whose pulse did not mark a heart rejoiced as he paced the deck of the Allan liner the first morning out of Liverpool, because he had leave to refuse them. None dreamed of staying, of “settling,” though such a course was practicable to any of them except Lorne. They were all rich enough to take the advantages that money brings in England, the comfort, the importance, the state; they had only to add their wealth to the sumptuous side of the dramatic contrast. I doubt whether the idea even presented itself. It is the American who takes up his appreciative residence in England. He comes as a foreigner, observant, amused, having disclaimed responsibility for a hundred years. His detachment is as complete as it would be in Italy, with the added pleasure of easy comprehension. But homecomers from Greater Britain have never been cut off, still feel their uneasy share in all that is, and draw a long breath of relief as they turn again to their life in the lands where they found wider scope and different opportunities, and that new quality in the blood which made them different men.
The deputation had accomplished a good deal; less, Cruickshank said, than he had hoped, but more than he had expected. They had obtained the promise of concessions for Atlantic services, both mail and certain classes of freight, by being able to demonstrate a generous policy on their own side. Pacific communications the home Government was more chary of; there were matters to be fought out with Australia. The Pacific was further away, as Cruickshank said, and you naturally can’t get fellows who have never been there to see the country under the Selkirks and south of the Bay—any of them except Wallingham, who had never been there either, but whose imagination took views of the falcon. They were reinforced by news of a shipping combination in Montreal to lower freights to South Africa against the Americans; it wasn’t news to them, some of them were in it; but it was to the public, and it helped the sentiment of their aim, the feather on the arrow. They had secured something, both financially and morally; what best pleased them, perhaps, was the extent to which they got their scheme discussed. Here Lorne had been invaluable; Murchison had done more with the newspapers, they agreed, than any of them with Cabinet Ministers. The journalist everywhere is perhaps more accessible to ideas, more susceptible to enthusiasm, than his fellows, and Lorne was charged with the object of his deputation in its most communicable,