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Why Use Subjunctive Were Here?

I clambered out upon the sill, but I hesitated to jump until I should have heard what passed between my savior and the ruffian who pursued me. If she were ill-used, then at any risks I was determined to go back to her assistance. The thought had hardly flashed through my mind before he was at the door, pushing his way past her; but she threw her arms round him and tried to hold him back.

The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb

Doyle, Arthur Conan

Context: With the cleaver-wielding Colonel Stark chasing him and a woman trying to protect him, he (Victor Hatherley) has climbed out onto a window ledge and is thinking of jumping to the ground in an attempt to escape. But out of concern for the safety of the woman (his “saviour”), he hesitates to do so.

Hi. Could you please explain why subjunctive “were” is used here? I don’t think it indicates something counterfactual.

Thank you.

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