“Oh, quit your kidding!” I begged, and then, suddenly, “Say, Bunch, will you sell the old homestead?”
Bunch stopped laughing and looked me over from head to foot. “Is this on the level or simply another low tackle?”
“It’s the goods,” I answered: “I simply can’t frighten, coax, scare, drive or push my home companions away from your property, so I’d like to buy it if you’re game to cut the cards?”
“Been playing the lottery?” he snickered.
“No, but I have the Pierponts, all right, all right,” I replied; “will you put $14,000 in your kick and pass me over the baronial estate?”
“Fourteen thousand!” Bunch repeated slowly. “Sure, I will. If you can Morgan that amount I’ll make good with the necessary documents, and then you and your family troubles may sit around on fly paper in Jiggersville for the rest of your natural lives for all I care.”
I explained to Bunch that I wanted the deed made out in the name of Peter Grant for the reason that Uncle Peter was a bigger farmer than I, and in short order the preliminary arrangements were completed to the satisfaction and relief of both parties concerned.
That evening I went back to Jiggersville feeling as light as a pin feather on a young duck.
Uncle Peter could have the property; Bunch could buy his sister another castle, and I was ahead of the game just $6,000, more than enough to square me for all the green paper I had torn up at the track.
Of course, it did look as though Uncle Peter had been whipsawed, but when I considered the bundles the old gentleman had stored away in the vaults, and when I remembered his eagerness to cough, I simply couldn’t produce one pang of conscience.
Two days later Bunch had a certified check for $14,000 and Uncle Peter was the happy owner of the country estate.
“We will live with you and Aunt Martha a little while,” I said to him; “but if you have no objection I’d like to buy a small lot down near the brook from you and build a bit of a cage there for ourselves.”
Uncle Peter chuckled affirmatively, but seemed unwilling to continue the subject further. “Isn’t it glorious out here,” he smiled. “Pure air, fresh from the bakery of Heaven! I have younged myself ten years since we came out here. Yesterday I fell in a bear trap which Tacks had dug and carefully concealed with brush and leaves. It took me four hours to get out because I’m rather stout, but the exercise surely did me good.”
Can you beat him?
A week later the second anniversary of our wedding would roll around, and although Clara J. was a trifle hard to win over, I finally coaxed her to let me have Bunch out to spend a few hours with us on that occasion.
At the appointed hour Bunch arrived and Clara J. greeted him with every word of that telegram darting forth darkly from her eyes.
“Mrs. John,” said Bunch, “I’m simply delighted to know you. I’ve often heard your husband speak well of you.”