FICTION

THE EQUIVALENT

WILL R. BIRD September 15 1933
FICTION

THE EQUIVALENT

WILL R. BIRD September 15 1933

THE EQUIVALENT

WILL R. BIRD

PELEG FILLER was washing his breakfast dishes, and he disliked the task. The water was too hot for his fingers and he was awkward. It was Sunday morning though, and he wanted to have things clean when Mary, his wife, came home.

Crash! A blue platter slipped from his grasp and was shattered on the floor. Peleg stood staring at the pieces, the weather-browned oval of his features elongated in amazement and despair. Mary had treasured the platter, and crockery was considered expensive in the remote jx)rt of Goose Tickle, Newfoundland.

There was a sound of heavy txx>ts and a dark form passed the window. Peleg drew his mouth together and opened the door.

‘‘Mornin’, Jake," he said dully. "I’ve dropped Mary's platter."

"One you give her for your weddin’ present?" The newcomer was a broad-beamed, solid-looking individual with a brick-red. matter-of-fact countenance. "You shouldn’t have tackled it."

"The water’s too hot.” said Peleg lamely. "I wanted to have the deck cleared for Mary. Her’s aimin’ tonight?"

"Yes.” said Jake, "her's cornin'. Peggy's up and around and the baby’s fine. Her said for you to have supper made up.” He grinned as if it were a huge joke, and seated himself comfortably. "1 come up to sit a spell,” he explained. "There’s times when a man gits too much housin’ with wimmen.”

"Not for me.” said Peleg stiffly. "I ain’t never got enough of it.”

"You'n Mary’s different”—Jake was leisurely lighting his pipe "and you ain’t been hitched long.”

“It’ll be the same.” returned Peleg defiantly, “when we have been. There ain't none like Mary up or down along.”

JAKE PUFFED slowly, as if meditating a comparison with Peggy, then shrugged his heavy shoulders.

“New married’s like that,” he pronounced. "You ain’t been hitched long enough to crackey!” Jake slapped a knee. “It’s ’zactly a year come Sat'day. since you went down to Gull Bay and got her from that old one. I writ that letter and put the ‘Pro Tem' to it to make it look like you’d writ it. and you got her."

“That letter helped," agreed Peleg. “but I had to do my own courtin’. Mary weren't easy fetched.” He didn't like reflections on his courtship or lack of education.

"You ought to be like Cap’n Swain.” said Jake to change the subject. “He alius took his missus a special on their weddin' date. Called them 'versarles, and set a heap by it.” “They’ve got on good." said Peleg, fiercely eager to defend such tactics.

They sat a while in silence only broken by the ticking of the alarm clock on the shelf, then Jake shifted uneasily.

“How’ll us settle?” he enquired. “Will us pay Mary

or . . .”

"Sure thing,” said Peleg sharply. “Her’s earned it—not but what her’d gone neighborly jist the same. Settle it with her.”

Again there was a silence. Peleg gathered the broken crockery, regarding it ruefully, then turned to Jake.

“Them specials the cap’n give.” he queried. “What was they?”

“Now that’s more'n us kin say, right off.” Jake seemed glad that Peleg was pleasant again. “It were wax flowers from St. John’s one time, but I can’t 'member others. I’ll be up along Sat’dav an’ find out, if you'd like.”

“Sat'day,” said Peleg, “is the day, you said. That’d be too late. I’m goin' down to Angel’s Arm on Friday an’ I’ll git it there at the company store.”

“That’s a wonnerful bit to go.” observed Jake. "An’ likely they has high prices. What you set on?”

“Nothin’—yet ” returned Peleg cautiously. “Mebbe a blue dish would be good.”

“It would be handy and providin’ for Mary,” said Jake, "an' that's sartin. But it’s a longish way.”

“It's a chance t’ make a dollar." said Peleg. “I’m runnin’ a load for Simon Beaker.”

“Bigger chances not to make a dollar,” warned Jake,

knocking out his pipe. “You shouldn't do for him 'thout you have it writ an’ signed, an’ you can't do that.’’

“I knows him," said Peleg shortly.

WHEN JAKE departed, Peleg scanned the kitchen and front room. He wanted ideas about what thing would please Mary most, and there seemed nothing better than Chinaware. It would be a pleasant surprise and, he told himself strongly, he’d always give Mary specials on their ’versaries. Peleg loved his soft-voiced, blue-eyed wife with a burning devotion. He wished he could get her something different, something new to Goose Tickle; he wanted his wife outstanding in the village.

He gazed at the bright new wall paper she had bought from St. John’s with a mail-order system that he held in awe, at the fresh dean oilcloth on the table and shelves, the flowers she had thriving in boxes and tins, the rose bush in a tub that she “wintered” in the kitchen. Mary had transformed his humble premises, and her loving, vivid presence seemed there with him in the room. Peleg thrilled, and made mighty resolutions about the special he would get.

Simon Beaker was a tricky fellow. He could read and write, and took every advantage of bargains the unlearned ones could not comprehend quickly. Peleg, however, trusted to the weight of his hard fists as arguments in his favor, and let Beaker know it.

He loaded his boat with 800 pounds of supplies for an isolated little post that missed the trading steamer.

“Watch for wettin’,” cautioned Beaker. “Come there’s any soaked, it’s ten per cent off’n each hundred you got.” “All right,” said Peleg. “That’s fair figgers.”

He was not much alarmed about shipping water, and it would not cost him much if he did.

But the wind was against him and he labored in rough seas at the entrance to the Arm, catching a ducking of spray. He had things well covered and protected, however, and was shortly at the wharf.

"I was feared of that,” said Beaker. He was exhibiting a sack with a soaked appearance. “You shipped water on the turn.”

Peleg stared at the piled goods and at the tarpaulin. He wished he had watched sharper as Beaker uncovered the load.

“Put in the shop’s the bargain,” said Beaker, and Peleg had to carry the sacks and cases to the small wooden building.

When he had finished, Beaker was not around.

“Went up along to see somebody,” explained the clerk in charge. “But he left your pay here.”

Peleg picked up the money and counted. After deducting expenses, he had just fifty cents profit.

"Something,” he rumbled threateningly, “is wrong with this.”

The clerk asked questions, and figured.

“No. that’s correct,” he said kindly. "There's the weight just as I make it. But he’s taken off ten per cent for ‘soaking.’ That comes to three dollars and twenty cents.”

“Tree dollars!” echoed Peleg bewilderedly. “T’ree! Us figgered ten cents on eight would be eighty.”

“Ten per cent isn’t ten cents.” It took the clerk a long time to make it clear, but at last it was done, and Peleg, fifty cents in hand, waited grimly for Beaker’s return. The wet sack, he found, was beans, and a small piece of ice still remained, melting, among them.

Beaker did not return. His errand carried him a safe distance from the wharf, and Peleg finally realized that in all probability the fellow would not cross his path again until autumn. He turned and gazed at the shelves of the small store. There wasn’t decent crockery, even if he had money; there was nothing he wanted as a ’versarv gift for Mary.

He went outside and stood, his slow mind struggling with his problem. A number of the men were gathered about a newcomer, a stranger, by his clothing, to either up or down along.

“Here you ire, friend,” said the stranger. "Get in on the rallie. Down at St. John’s. Fair and square, and the draw’s Tuesday next. Just time to send in the stubs. Fifty cents'll put you in line. Head the ticket; l<x>k it over.”

Peleg looked. He did not want to let them sus|x.*ct that he could not read.

“Fair enough, isn't it?” said the stranger quickly. "For the veterans, too, and a blind man makin’ the draw. Fifty cents, friend. Every man here’s lxiught one.”

Peleg, reddening, tried to hand back the ticket, then saw the others exhibiting theirs.

“Help the boys, friend,” persuaded the stranger. "Take a chance. Only fifty cents.”

“Sure, Peleg,” spoke up one of the men. “It’s a gcxxJ one.”

Without another word Peleg drove a big hand in his pocket and extracted the lone coin that represented his profit for the day. He stuck it into the stranger’s palm.

“What’s your number?” The stranger peered. “Three sevens - lucky, sure. Now write your name here . . .”

But Peleg was striding away.

"I got no more time,” he flung back, and heard the men giving his name and address.

IT WAS NOT until he was seated at his supper table, with I Mary pouring tea fot him and his plate heaped with fried cod and potatoes, that Peleg could bring himself to speak of his fruitless venture.

"An’ him puttin’ ice into the beans to soak a wettin' !” he gritted at the inish. “Next time I catches him—”

"No, Peleg, no.” Mary flung herself around the table and clasped her arms about his neck. "Don’t ever. Say you won’t.”

Her firm, warm arms and quivering pleading choked Peleg.

“Sure, us won’t if you don’t want,” he promised. “There,

Continued on page 34

Continued from page 13

Mary, us said it. It were just because I got nothin’ for you.”

“For me, Peleg?” Mary stayed on his knee.

“Sure,” said Peleg. “A special for your 'versary. Jake were tellin’ me it’s tomorrow” “ ’Versary? Oh, when us were married! Don’t mind nothin’ for me, Peleg. It’s so happy havin’ you so good to me that it don’t matter.”

“Peggy settle with you?” Peleg tried to change the topic.

“No-o. Her hasn’t any money, Peleg.” “No money! Jake said her had forty dollars saved from blueberryin’.”

“Her did, but the doctor took every dollar an’ said it should have been five more cornin’ so far. My, Peleg, will us have the money, come September?”

“Sure, us will.” Peleg’s heart gave an odd little jump. It was the exact thought that had been prodding at the back of his mind. "Us’ll have to. Were the doctor fairspeak in’?”

“Wonnerful,” said Mary wistfully. She twisted her apron in her fingers. “He said all about the hospital down at Pilley’s Pond, said I should go there, Peleg—the first one anyhow. He said it were ten times better there—nurses, an’ fetchin’, an’ lookin’ after the baby proper, with feedin’ an’ all. I wish you could have heard all he said.”

Peleg swallowed hard.

“How much is’t?” he asked.

“Sixty dollars, board’n all.”

“Sixty!” Peleg moistened his lips with his tongue.

“I dreamt it last night,” said Mary more wistfully. “It were near like heaven. My, Peleg, a person'd never forget a treat like that. It’d beat Christmas or anything I’ve ever knowed.”

“Sure, ” agreed Peleg. “but sixty—” “There, us were foolin’.” Mary tried to smile quickly and to end the subject, but her face as she pictured herself at the hospital stamped itself on Peleg’s memory and stayed there.

T WAS TWO DAYS before Peleg got a chance to show Jake the ticket he had purchased.

"What,” he queried, "does that read? Us give fifty cents for it.”

"Fifty cents!” parroted Jake. “What for?”

“Us were tryin’ to git a special for Mary,” said Peleg patiently, “and there were nothin’ to git. It’s about stubs an’ raffles, whatever them is.”

Jake had been spelling slowly, and after a time he mastered the first lines.

“You’m got a ticket on a car raffle,” he announced soberly, shaking his head. “Throwed money away, I’d say.” Carefully he explained all details. “It’s to be drawed in St. John’s.” he concluded.

"I knowed that.” admitted Peleg. “But it must mean all Newfoun’lan’, or bow’d them others buy?”

Jake did more head shaking.

“It’s drawed down there,” he said. “You’m lost money.”

“But what,” urged Peleg, “is drawed?” Jake started, and stared at him.

“You’m bought that,” he asked in an awed voice, “ 'thout knowin’ what it were for?”

“Sure.” owned Peleg frankly. “Us thought it—it were somethin’ for Mary.” “It’s a car!” said Jake, hoarsely dramatical.

“A car!”

“A car. Us don’t know what the name is, but it’s like different engines for boats. It’s a six—whatever that is.” Jake spat impatiently. “The ’scription.” he snorted, “is all big words a lawyer couldn’t ’splain.” He gazed a while longer at the offending card, held it off between thumb and forefinger, then handed it back to Peleg. "Where.” he quizzed dryly, “would you run a car if you had one?”

Peleg looked around him helplessly. Up along stretched forbidding rocky coast with

footpaths leading inland to scrubby forest areas. Down along reached the same hardfaced, forbidding aspect.

“I ain’t got it,” defended Peleg desperately, then his jaw set. “Don’t you spread word ’bout it,” he warned. “Us told you, but don’t let no more get it, not even Peggy.”

And Jake, after a quick look at Peleg’s expression, promised faithfully.

THE STOREKEEPER at Goose Tickle I fingered an envelope with a strange crest and gazed at the group waiting for mail.

"Peleg,” he called. “Here’s one for you.” Peleg, startled, shambled forward and thrust it in his pocket as if it were something he expected. Then, with a casual remark about fishing weather, he left the building, acutely aware of curious gazes.

Once away from scrutiny, he hurried to the far end of the settlement and caught Jake outside his house.

“Come out of sight of the window,” he urged. “Us got somethin’ to show.”

Jake obediently led the way to his boat shed, and there whistled his astonishment as he scanned the outside of the unusual envelope. “V-e-t-e-r-a-n-s,” he droned his spelling. “Vet’runs. That’s the ones that was into the war. A-s-s-o-c-i . . . Thunder an’ lightin’, I can’t git them long words! Why do they put them ...”

Peleg removed the envelope from his hands and ripped it open. “Read quick,” he commanded tensely. “Us wants to know what’s in it.”

“Dear Mister Peleg Filler,” Jake began. “We are p-l-e-a-s. pleased, to a-d-v-i-s-e— that’s advice or like it,” Jake frowned, “that you have d-r-a-w, drawn, the 1-u-c, lucky, t-i-c-k. ticket. This letter is to n-o-t-i-f-y. notify, you that we are a-w-a-i-t, awaiting, your i-n-s-t-r-u—I can’t git that one.” Jake was irritable as he labored. “The son of a scaldy that writ this wants to show off his lamin’. Here’s another right in the wash of it. R-e-g-a-r-d, that’s regardin’, s-h-i-p, shipment. We c-o-n-g-r-a-t . . . The whole part there’s them long ones.” Peleg held his control. Jake had been useful to him on several occasions in his capacity as a reader, but it had always been in connection with letters and statements of simple spelling and few words. This crisp, crackly paper bore long, severe lines of black letters, and it was small wonder that Jake could not master them.

“Sit down,” he advised, “an’ go slow with it. Mebbe you kin catch th’ main drift of what they want.”

“Want!” repeated Jake. “They don’t want nothin’. They’re tellin’—”

“They must have wanted somethin’,” persisted Peleg, "to write a letter to me.” “They’re tellin’ you you got the car.” “Got the car!” Peleg collapsed on a bench. “Sure. Didn’t you hook that?” Jake was amazed. “That were the ‘drawn the lucky ticket’ part.”

“The car!” groaned Peleg. “What’ll

IAKE SAT and scratched his head. He vJ thrust the letter between himself and the bench, felt for his pipe, found it and lighted it.

“It’s a wonnerful hard one,” he admitted after ponderous thinking. “If you could be at St. John’s, mebbe you could sell her to somebody that had enough money.”

There was no response.

“It’d have to be that,” continued Jake. “You couldn’t trust nobody that far. I don’t know what them kind of cars cost, but likely they’re moren a couple of boats. It’s yours anyhow, as it stands. By crikey !” Jake almost dropped his pipe. He stood up and let the letter fall to the floor. “You’re in bad, Peleg.” he said huskily. "Peggy's cousin down there has one of them cars and he writ up about the cost of havin’ it licensed—like a steamboat. You’ve got to take out the right papers or be lawed; an’

them papers, Peleg, cost a heap. It’s either twenty or thirty dollars Peggy’s cousin paid.”

Peleg stared dumbly at him, his misery riding high.

“If we had lamin’,” Jake went on, “us could git up a letter to them an’ mebbe git clear decks on how to do, but us can’t.” He searched for another match. “Best thing now,” he said sympathetically, “is for you to go down yourself.”

“Me?”

“Sure. You could do it in four days.” Peleg pulled down his cap.

“Us won’t,” he said doggedly. “Mary’s not one to keep alone that long.”

“Her could stay with Peggy.” Jake was very suave.

A quick retort leaped to Peleg’s lips, but was smothered.

“No,” he said heavily. “Her’s none too strong and I wants her restin’.” He bent and picked up the letter. “Scan it ag’in, Jake,” he implored. “Mebbe there’s somethin’that could—could ...”

Jake scanned, and after a long session of muttering and spelling, pointed a thick finger.

“That part there, the aft of it you might say, is a hard one, but it’s got a place to sign. I wish it were plain readin’. If d-e-s-i-r-e-d. the e-q-u-i-v-a-1—that’s too much for anybody,” rasped Jake. “The parson hisself couldn't git that one. May be had in c-u-r-r-e-n-c-v. An’ that’s another. It don’t make sense, but it sounds, if you’m try it, like words that gas-engine man up last spring were usin’.”

He turned back again to the place, after lighting his pipe for the fourth time.

“For the e-q-u-i-v-a-l-e-n t, sign here,” he read. He passed over the letter. “Mebbe the storekeeper kin—”

“You knows I wouldn’t go to him,” broke in Peleg. He tore off a piece of the envelope. “Write that word on this,” he begged. “Us kin show that to Mary, and perhaps her kin fathom it. Her’s wonnerful smart on things.” “I’ve read her hand,” said Jake. “It’s like I do.”

Peleg forebore comment, and watched as Jake produced a stubby lead pencil and with great care inscribed the letters. “Thanks,” he said. “An’ don’t spread 'bout this.”

Jake, smoking steadily, nodded, and stood in the door to watch him depart.

PELEG WENT in warily when he reached home. He managed to talk on village matters until Mary had poured his second cup of tea. Then he put the bit of paper on the table.

“Kin you fathom that word?” he asked. Mary studied it long, and spelled audibly. “I ain’t had schoolin’,” she said. “You know that, Peleg. Only what my sister Faith showed me. She went part of four summers, and could read good as the parson.” She held the paper in her hands.

“E-q-u-i-v . . . No, Peleg, I can’t git senses to it. What’s it mean?”

“I don’t know,” said Peleg helplessly. “Us jist were cur’ous like.”

Mary got up slowly and came around the table. She put her cheek against Peleg’s and an arm around his neck.

“You ain’t hidin’ nothin’?” she asked softly.

“Me?” said Peleg faintly.

“It’s been in your eyes,” said Mary, “and I’m feared ...” Her voice faltered. “Is’t money?” she managed.

Peleg reached into his jacket pocket.

“Us were tryin’ to not make bother,” he said gently, “but us’ll never hold back what’s right you should know. Us always bungled lines.” he went on bitterly, “and this is a mess o’ poor tackle, sure.”

Holding her there, he told her of his buying of the ticket and of the results.

Mary, tense as he was, kissed him.

“It can’t make bad if it comes to law,” she comforted him. "You kin prove you didn’t know ’cause you can’t read.”

Peleg’s relief at such a verdict was mixed.

“But us wouldn’t like that spread up and down along,” he pleaded. “Kin you make sense to that letter?”

Mansighed, then stirred.

“There's a place like for signin’,” she pointed. “Mebbe that’s to do with license. You got to keep in the law, Peleg.”

“Sure us has,” said Peleg suddenly, his mind made up. “Take the writin’ pen an’ put my name down, Mary. Us’ll do what’s right we should, and come the parson gits here us’ll ’splain it all.”

“But the best to do,” said Mary after she had written as bidden, “will be to send a letter along with it.”

Peleg pounded his knee.

“You’m a smart one,” he praised. “That beats all Jake could do. He never thought of that idea once’t.”

Mary got paper and wrote steadily.

“Dere Sirs:

Am sorry the car was drawed on me. Can it be fixed so I don’t have to pay no license or no money. I have no cash to spare and fish is down. I’m sinin this paper where the dots begin and hope there is no more until the parson comes. We will have him rite and spiane that we have no money and ment the fifty sense to help them that was into the war. Please don’t law us or ship the car. Yores truely,

Peleg Filler.

P.S. There is no rodes up her to have a car.”

JAKE WAS at the wharf the next morning, and feverishly inquisitive.

“What you’m plannin’ to do?” he asked at first opportunity.

“Nothin’,” said Peleg laconically. “Us signed it.”

“Signed?” Jake looked tragic.

“Sure,” said Peleg. “Us said Mary were a smart one, an’ her is. We sent a letter ’long with the paper.”

“You told her?”

Peleg nodded.

“When it comes to papers inside the law,” he said solemnly, “us is goin’ to pull fair with Mary. Her said quick off to put a letter in that would ’splain.”

“But you’m signed?” Jake held his pose. “Sure us did.”

“Then you’m got somethin’ to pay shippin’ on.” Jake produced a dirty page torn from a catalogue. “When Cap’n Swain were gettin’ his new h’istin’ engine, I were there when the agent come, and when they had part bargained for a gas one, the agent showed this picture and said it were the e-q-u-i-v-a-l-e-n-t in steam. That come clear as mackerel to me this mornin’. You’m signed to git one o’ them e-qthings.”

Peleg looked, and stared. The picture showed a cumbersome jumble of rods and wheels and gears.

“Looks like she’d weigh a ton,” said Jake sombrely, “and it’ll be on the mail boat tomorrow night.”

Peleg left him without a word and went heavily to his fishing.

It was the longest day he ever experienced. Every gull seemed mocking him, every jagged bit of coastline seemed to resemble the “equivalent” engine he had signed for. His only hope was in the letter Mary had written.

At the supper table he told her all about it; pictured, as well as he could, the mass of wheels and gears. She listened with bated breath and her cheeks whitened.

“What’ll they charge on the freight?” she whispered.

“Jake paid four-fifty on gear he got from Duck Cove,” said Peleg dismally. “It didn’t look heavy.”

“Never mind,” said Mary. “We’re livin’ fair an’ we will. The captain ain’t never hard on people. There’s nine dollars in the box an’ that’ll pay.”

Nine dollars! Peleg wanted to groan. "Us’ll have tackle to help unload,” he answered. “That’ll count some.”

But there was no freight for Peleg and the boat did not linger. Thankful for the respite, Peleg coiled his rope and stowed his tackle, then went over to the store. The mail was being sorted and suddenly the storekeeper held a letter up.

“You again, Peleg,” he called.

Peleg, startled so that he stumbled, grasped it with unsteady fingers and hurried out. Within ten minutes Mary was opening it. A long, perforated yellow slip with stamps on it slid to the table.

“A money cheque!” she gasped. She gazed at it wonderingly, studied the figures. “Eight hundred an’ forty dollars!”

PELEG’S HANDS gripped the table edge so that his knuckles whitened. He was voiceless, stunned. Mary turned to the letter.

“ ‘Dear sir,’ ” she read in a tremulous voice. “ ‘We thank you for your letter of e-x-p-l-a-n, explanation, and e-n-c-l-o, enclose, our cheque for eight hundred and forty dollars. You have our best wishes for the future. S-i-n-c, sincerely.’ The rest’s his name. Oh, Peleg!”

She clung to him, ecstatic, excited, and finally calmed to reverent thankfulness with tears on her cheeks. Peleg could only stroke her hair awkwardly and stare at the slip of paper.

“There’s to be no e-q-u-i-v thing, then?” he managed at last.

“None,” said Mary, and she kissed him. “We’re all clear and above board.”

Peleg held her, kissed her.

“Peleg,” she whispered, “I dreamed again ■ I w'as at Pilley’s Pond in the hospital, and now I’m goin’, I’m goin’, I’m goin’. I couldn’t be happier if you was captain of the biggest ship afloat.”

It was dusk when Jake came, and he scanned their faces incredulously.

“It didn’t come,” he said, “but they told me you’m got a letter from St. John’s. You have to go down?”

“No,” said Peleg, “nor nothin’ ain’t cornin’ on the mail boat. They ain’t shippin’ that thing.”

“Jist dropped?” Jake let the match he | held to his pipe burn his fingers.

“No,” said Peleg again. “Us got the | money 'stead of it. That letter Mary writ j put everything fair to the wind. Us got j eight hundred and forty dollars.”

“Eight hun ...” Jake’s pipe fell to the floor.

“A money cheque, stamps and all.”

They pulled it from the envelope and let him see for himself, fix his eyes on the | unbelievable figures.

“Smokin’ tarfish tackle!” he ejaculated in ; a whisper. “You’m rich for life. Wh-what’d you write?” He gazed at Mary in profound i admiration.

“Us can’t remember the ’zact words,” said Peleg with dignity, “an’ it’s ’tween us an’ them anyhow. One thing’s sure”his pride of her was in his face—“she writ the right ones.”

“Her must have,” admitted Jake slowly, groping for his pipe. “Her’s wonnerful clever.”

“An’ now,” said Peleg kindly, “you needn’t bother ’bout payin’ Mary.”

“No,” said Mary heartily. “You tell 1 Peggy.”

Jake gazed at them both, taut with his | emotion, then reached hurriedly for his cap. ¡

“Us will.” he said thickly. “It’ll ’lieve her mind wonnerful. She’s been poorly, worry-1 in’ how to git the money afore September. Any time there’s anythin’us kin do ...” He fumbled in his pocket. “Here’s the e-q-u-i-v thing you signed to git if Mary hadn’t writ,” he said. “Want to have’t to look at?”

“Sure,” said Peleg.

When Jake had gone he pinned the soiled ; paper in position beside the clock. It would help him in explaining the details to the neighbors who would flock in next day to see the miraculous “money cheque.”