The Deacon's Bargain
Old Deacon Bruce of Aylesford, last Monday week, bought a sleigh of his
fellow-deacon, Squire Burns, for five pounds. On his way home with it,
who should he meet but Zeek Morse, a-trudging along through the snow
"Friend Zeek," says the old Christian, "won't you get in and ride?
Here's room for you and welcome."
"Don't care if I do," said Zeek, "seeing that sitting is as cheap as
walking, if you don't pay for it." So he hops in, and away they go.
Well, Zeek was mightily taken with the sleigh.
"Deacon," says he, "how shall you and me trade for it? It's just the
article I want, for I am a-going down to Bridgetown next week to be
married; and it will suit me to a notch to fetch Mrs. Morse, my wife,
home in. What will you take for it?"
"Nine pounds," said old Conscience. "It cost me seven pounds ten
shillings, to Deacon Burns, who built it; and as it's the right season
for using it, and I can't get another made till next winter, I must
have nine pounds for it, and it ain't dear at that price neither."
"Done!" says Zeek--for he is an offhand kind of chap, and never stands
bantering and chaffering a long time, but says at once what he means,
as I do. "Done!" says he--"'tis mine!" and the deacon drives up to his
house, gets his pay, and leaves the sleigh there.
Next morning, when Zeek went to examine his purchase, he found there
was a bolt left out by mistake, so off he goes to the maker, Deacon
Burns, to get it put in, when he ups and tells him all about the
"Did the old gentleman tell you my price was seven pounds ten?" said
"Oh yes," said Zeek, "in course he did--there is no mistake about it.
I'll take my oath to it."
"Well, so it was," said Burns. "He told you true. He was to give me
seven pounds ten; but as there was nobody by but him and me when we
traded, and as it ain't paid for yet, he might perhaps forget it, for
he is getting to be an old man now. Will you try to recollect it?"
"Sartainly," said Zeek. "I'll swear to it any day you please, in any
court in the world, for them was his very words to me."
What does Deacon Burns do but go right off and sue Deacon Bruce for
seven pounds ten, instead of five pounds, the real price; called Zeek
as a witness to his admission, and gained his case! Fact, upon my soul!