“The matter between us, sir, is this,” said Price. “You know the corner of the field with the pink hawthorn near Mr. Case’s house? The lane runs past one side of it and a sweetbrier hedge separates it on the other from his garden. Well, sir, the Attorney wishes to enclose that bit of ground with his own, and as it belongs to the village, and moreover is a play-green for the children, and it has been their custom to meet by the hawthorn every Mayday for as many years as I can remember, I was loth to see them turned out of it.”
“Let us go together and look at this piece of ground,” said Sir Arthur. “It is not far off, is it?”
“Oh, no, sir, close by.”
When they reached the ground, Mr. Case saw them from his garden and hurried to the spot. He was afraid of what the farmer might tell Sir Arthur. But this time the Attorney was too late, for the truth had already been told.
“Is this the place you speak of?” asked Sir Arthur.
“Yes, sir,” answered Price.
“Why, Sir Arthur,” said Attorney Case, seeing that he was too late, “let there be no dispute about the ground. Let it belong to the village if you will. I give up all claim to it.”
“But you know well, Mr. Case, that a man cannot give up claim to a place which is not his. You cannot give up this piece of land, for you have no claim to it, as I can prove to you by a look at my maps. This field used to belong to the farm on the other side of the road, but was cut off from it when the lane was made.”
“Indeed you must know best,” said the trembling Attorney, who was afraid of Sir Arthur and enraged to be shown in the wrong before Farmer Price.
“Then,” said Sir Arthur to the farmer, “you understand that this little green is to be a playground for the village children, and I hope they may gather hawthorn from their favorite bush for many a Mayday to come.”
Farmer Price bowed low, which he seldom did, even when he received a kindness for himself, but he was now overjoyed to think of the children’s delight when he should tell them the good news.
“And now, Mr. Case,” said Sir Arthur, turning to the Attorney, “you sent me a lease to look over.”
“Yes, I thought it my duty to do so. I hope it will not hurt the good farmer.”
“No, it will not hurt him,” said Sir Arthur. “I am willing to write a new one for him when he pleases. He has a letter from my brother who let the farm to him, which shows exactly what was meant, even if there was a mistake made in making out the lease. I hope I shall never treat any one unfairly.”
“No, indeed,” said the Attorney, “but I always thought if there was a mistake in a lease it was fair to take advantage of it.”
“Then you shall be judged by your own words,” answered Sir Arthur. “You meant to send me Farmer Price’s lease, but your son has somehow brought me yours instead. I have found a bad mistake in it.”