The cooper found Mr. Harrison at home.
“I called to inquire,” asked Mr. Harding, “whether you have let your house?”
“Not as yet,” was the reply.
“What rent do you ask?”
“Twenty dollars a quarter. I don’t think that unreasonable.”
“It is satisfactory to me,” was the cooper’s reply, “and if you have no objections to me as a tenant, I will engage it at once.”
“Far from having any objections, Mr. Harding,” was the courteous reply, “I shall be glad to secure so good a tenant. Will you go over and look at the house?”
“Not now, sir; I am somewhat in haste. Can we move in to-day?”
His errand satisfactorily accomplished, the cooper returned home.
Meanwhile the landlord had called.
He was a little surprised to find that Mrs. Harding, instead of looking depressed, looked cheerful rather than otherwise.
“I was not aware you had a child so young,” he remarked, looking at the baby.
“It is not mine,” said Mrs. Harding, briefly.
“The child of a neighbor, I suppose,” thought the landlord.
Meanwhile he scrutinized closely, without appearing to do so, the furniture in the room.
At this point Mr. Harding entered the house.
“Good-morning,” said Colman, affably. “A fine morning, Mr. Harding.”
“Quite so,” responded his tenant, shortly.
“I have called, Mr. Harding, to ask if you are ready with your quarter’s rent.”
“I think I told you last evening how I was situated. Of course I am sorry.”
“So am I,” interrupted the landlord, “for I may be obliged to have recourse to unpleasant measures.”
“You mean that we must leave the house.”
“Of course you cannot expect to remain in it, if you are unable to pay the rent. I suppose,” he added, making an inventory of the furniture with his eyes, “you will leave behind a sufficient amount of furniture to cover your debt.”
“Surely you would not deprive us of our furniture!”
“Is there any injustice in requiring payment of honest debts?”
“There are cases of that description. However, I will not put you to the trouble of levying on my furniture. I am ready to pay your dues.”
“Have you the money?” asked Colman, in surprise.
“I have, and something over. Can you cash my check for five hundred dollars?”
It would be difficult to picture the amazement of the landlord.
“Surely you told me a different story last evening,” he said.
“Last evening and this morning are different times. Then I could not pay you. Now, luckily, I am able. If you will accompany me to the bank, I will draw some money and pay your bill.”
“My dear sir, I am not at all in haste for the money,” said the landlord, with a return of his affability. “Any time within a week will do. I hope, by the way, you will continue to occupy this house.”