“Hasn’t spoken a word to me about it,” said the lawyer.
“Well, I heard she was after you every night in the meeting—”
“She was after me, talking about one sinner or another of her acquaintance, but she didn’t mention you, deacon. It’s a sad mistake, perhaps, but in a big town like this a person can’t think of everybody at once, you know.”
“For heaven’s sake, Bartram, shut up, and tell me what I have to do. Time is passing. I must have a lot of ready cash to-day, somehow, and here are all these securities; the minute I try to sell them people go to asking questions, and you’re the only man they can come to. Now, you know perfectly well what the arrangements and understandings were when these papers were drawn, because you drew them all yourself. Now, if people come to you I want you to promise me that you’re not going to go back on me.”
The deacon still held the papers in his hand, gesticulating with them. As he spoke, the lawyer took them, looked at them, and finally said,—
“Deacon, how much money do you need?”
“I can’t get through,” said the deacon, “with less than nine hundred dollars ready cash, or first-class checks and notes, this very day.”
“Humph!” said the lawyer, still handling the papers. “Deacon, I’ll make you a straightforward proposition concerning that money. If you will agree that I shall be agent of both parties in any settlement of these agreements which I hold in my hand, and that you will accept me as sole and final arbitrator in any differences of opinion between you and the signers, I will agree personally to lend you the amount you need, on your simple note of hand, renewable from time to time until you are ready to pay it.”
“Ray Bartram,” exclaimed the deacon, stopping short and looking the lawyer full in the face, “what on earth has got into you?”
“Religion, I guess, deacon,” said the lawyer. “Try it yourself: it’ll do you good.”
The lawyer walked off briskly, and left the deacon standing alone in the street. As the deacon afterwards explained the matter to his wife, he felt like a stuck pig.
“Tom,” said Sam Kimper to his eldest son one morning after breakfast, “I wish you’d walk along to the shop with me. There’s somethin’ I want to talk about.”
Tom wanted to go somewhere else; what boy doesn’t, when his parents have anything for him to do? Nevertheless, the young man finally obeyed his father, and the two left the house together.
“Tom,” said the father, as soon as the back door had closed behind them, “Tom, I’m bein’ made a good deal more of than I deserve, but ‘tain’t any of my doin’s, and men that ort to know keep tellin’ me that I’m doin’ a lot o’ good in town. Once in a while, though, somebody laughs at me,—laughs at somethin’ I say. It’s been hurtin’ me, an’ I told Judge Prency so the other day; but he said, ’Sam, it isn’t what you say, but the way you say it.’ You see, I never had no eddication; I was sent to school, but I played hookey most of the time.”