"It may not amount to anything," he said slowly. "It is difficult to get any perspective on things around here, because every one down in the village is sure he saw the murderer, either before or since the crime. And half of them will stretch a point or two as to facts, to be obliging. But the man who drives the hack down there tells a story that may possibly prove to be important."

  1. Stretch a point can be interpreted as 'far fetched' ?

  2. 'to be obliging' could be understood 'at most'?

I am not a native English speaker.


To "stretch a point" is to make a statement that is mostly true, or clearly resembles the truth, but is misleading or contains elements that aren't true.

"To be obliging" is, in this context, to be accommodating, or pleasing. (That meaning is considered obsolete.)

So, the speaker feels that the people in the village gave him statements that weren't 100% true, but he doesn't feel that they did so in order to deliberately mislead him. Instead, he believes that they elaborated upon the facts in order to present a greater amount of information, in an effort to accommodate him, or to be helpful.

  • Similar to "bend the truth". – Scott Dec 26 '14 at 22:01

From context it looks as if the speaker is referring to the witness' tendencies to exaggerate what happened, and return a slightly fictional account of the event, rather than a fully factual one.

"I was eating celery when I saw him leave, he looked murderous, ready to kill any in his way..." as opposed to "The figure looked rushed, jostling nearby persons as he pushed past", which would be the more truthful statement.

Hope this helped!

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