About three o’clock in the afternoon, Samuel Hill and his father arrived, and Hiram, remembering Quincy’s instructions, had found Ezekiel Pettengill, and all came to the room together. It took a comparatively short time to sign, seal, and deliver the documents and papers. It was arranged that Samuel Hill and his father should take charge of the grocery store and carry on the business until a week from the following Monday; as Quincy told young Hill that he had some business to attend to the early part of the following week that would prevent his giving any attention to the store until the latter part of the week.
Quincy treated his principals and witnesses to cigars, and an interchange of ideas was made in relation to the result of the auction sale.
“How does Strout take it?” inquired Quincy.
“I don’t know,” spoke up Hiram. “He acts as though he thought I was pizen. Every time he sees me he crosses over on t’other side of the street, if we happen to be comin’ towards each other.”
“Well, I imagine,” said Quincy, “that your usefulness to him has departed in some respects, but it’s just as well.”
“Well,” said young Hill, “I can tell you what he said the other night in the grocery store. There was a crowd of his friends there, and he remarked that you,” turning to Quincy, “might own Hill’s grocery store, but that wasn’t the whole earth. He said that he had no doubt that he would be elected unanimously as tax collector, and he was sure of his appointment as postmaster, and if he got it he should start another grocery store on his own hook and make it lively for you.”
“Well,” said Quincy with a laugh, “competition is the life of trade, and I sha’n’t object if he does go into the business; but if he does, I will guarantee to undersell him on every article, and I will put on a couple of teams and hire a couple of men, and we’ll scour Eastborough and Mason’s Corner and Montrose for orders in the morning, and then we’ll deliver all the goods by team in the afternoon in regular Boston style. I never knew just exactly what I was cut out for. I know I don’t like studying law, and it may be, after all, that it’s my destiny to become a grocery-man.”
Quincy took Ezekiel by the arm, led him to the window, and whispered something to him.
Ezekiel laughed, then turned red in the face, then finally said in an undertone, “Waal, I dunno, seems kinder early, but I dunno but it jest as well might be then as any other time. I hain’t got nuthin’ ter do this afternoon, so I think I’ll take a walk up there to see how the land lays.”
He said, “Good afternoon” to the others and left the room.
Quincy then took Samuel Hill by the arm in the same manner as he had done to Ezekiel, led him to the window, and said something to him which wrought a similar effect to that produced upon Ezekiel.
Samuel thought for a moment and then said, “That ain’t a bad idea; I’m satisfied if the other party is. I’m going to drive over this afternoon and tell the old gentleman that matters are all fixed up, and I’ll find out if there’s any objection to the plan. Guess I’ll go now, as I’ve got to git back to-night.”