Uncle William’s face fell a little. “Well, I wouldn’t say jest that, Andy.
“Roof leaks,” said Andrew.
“A leetle,” admitted Uncle William, “over ’n the southeast corner, She’s weather-tight all but that.” He gazed at the little structure affectionately. The sun flamed at the windows, turning them to gold. The artist’s face appeared at one of them, beckoning and smiling. Uncle William turned to Andy. “A man give him two thousand for it,” he said. There was sheer pride in the words.
“For that?” Andy looked at him for a minute. Then he looked at the house and the bay and the flaming sky. His left eyelid lowered itself slowly and he tapped his forehead significantly with one long finger.
Uncle William shook his head. “He’s as sensible as you be, Andy—or me.”
Andy pondered the statement. A look of craft crept into his eye. “What’ll ye bet he ain’t foolin’ ye?” he said.
Uncle William returned the look with slow dignity. “I don’t speak that way o’ my friends, Andy,” he said gently. “I’d a heap rather trust ’em and get fooled, than not to trust ’em and hev ’em all right.”
Andy looked guilty. “When’s it comin’?” he said gruffly.
“It’s come a’ready,” replied Uncle William; “this mornin’. We’ve been figgerin’ on a new boat all day, off and on. He’s goin’ to give me five hunderd to make up for the Jennie.”
“She wa’n’t wuth it!” Andy spoke with conviction. He dropped a jealous eye to the Andrew Halloran rising slowly on the tide.
“No, she wa’n’t wuth more’n three hunderd, if she was that,” admitted Uncle William. “I’m goin’ to take the three hunderd outright and borrow the rest. I’m goin’ to pay you, too, Andy.”
Andy’s face, in the light of the setting sun, grew almost mellow. He turned it slowly. “When you goin’ to pay me, Willum?”
“To-morrow,” answered William, promptly, “or mebbe next day. I reckoned we’d all go down and see about the boat together.”
Andy looked at him helplessly. “Everything seems kind o’ turnin’ upside down,” he said. He drew a deep breath. “What d’ye s’pose it is, Willum—about ’em—picters—that makes ’em cost so like the devil?”
Uncle William looked thoughtful. “I dunno,” he said slowly. “I’ve thought about that, myself. Can’t be the paint nor the canvas.”
“Cheap as dirt,” said Andy.
“Must be the way he does ’em.”
“Just a-settin’ and a-daubin’, and a-settin’ and a-daubin’,” sneered Andrew.
“I dunno’s I’d say that, Andy,” said Uncle William, reprovingly. “He sweat and fussed a lot.”
Andy’s eye roamed the landscape. “’T ain’t reasonable,” he said, jealously. “A thing o’t to be wuth more’n a picter of it. There’s more to a thing.” He struck the solid ground of fact with relief.
Uncle William’s eye rested on him mildly. “Ye can’t figger it that way, Andy. I’ve tried it. A shark’s bigger’n a halibut, but he ain’t wuth much—’cept for manure.”