Chapter XII Old Grisley Comes to Terms - The Rover boys on a Tour by Edward Stratemeyer

All in the room looked at Tom in some surprise because of the plain way in which he had spoken.

"Mr. Rover, you are sure of what you are saying?" questioned Mr.

Sanderson, quickly, in a low voice.

"Yes, Mr. Sanderson, we'll take care of this mortgage. Don't you worry a bit about it."

"Did you say you would pay off this mortgage?" demanded Belright Fogg, glaring at Tom.

"I didn't say I'd pay it off personally. But my folks will take care of it."

"The money is due now--has been due for several days."

"Yes, sir, that's right!" came shrilly from Henry Grisley. "And I want you to know that I want the full amount with interest up to the day when it is paid. I ain't goin' to lose nothin'--not a cent."

"Mr. Grisley, I have an offer to make to you," went on Tom addressing himself directly to the old man and utterly ignoring Belright Fogg. "You don't know me, but let me say that my father and my uncle are worth a good deal of money. I am in business in New York with my father, and our concern has a great deal of money to invest. Now, if you will agree to hold this mortgage for thirty days, I will guarantee to have it paid in full at that time with every cent of interest. And in addition to that I will pay you twenty-five dollars for your trouble and for your lawyer's fees."

"Ha! What do you think I am? What do you think I work for?" demanded Belright Fogg, with a scowl. "My fee will be more than twenty-five dollars in this case."

"What? What?" shrilled Henry Grisley, turning his beadlike eyes on the lawyer. "Twenty-five dollars? Not much! I'll give ye ten dollars and not a cent more."

"That's the way to talk, Mr. Grisley. You give him ten dollars and you keep the fifteen dollars for your own trouble," cried Tom. "So far as I can see he hasn't done anything for you excepting to come here to see Mr. Sanderson, and certainly such a trip as this isn't worth more than ten dollars."

"My services are worth a good deal more!" exclaimed Belright Fogg. And thereupon ensued a war of words between him and Henry Grisley which lasted the best part of a quarter of an hour. The lawyer saw the case slipping away from him, and at last in deep disgust he said he would have no more to do with the affair.

"Don't want ye to! Don't want ye to!" piped out Henry Grisley. "Lawyers are a useless expense anyway. I'll settle this case myself, and for what you've done I won't pay more'n ten dollars, jest remember it!" and he shook a long, bony finger in Belright Fogg's face.

"I won't be insulted in this manner!" cried the lawyer, and then in a dudgeon he stormed from the house, leaped into the cutter, and drove away.

"A good riddance to him," murmured Mr. Sanderson. But then he added hastily: "Was that your horse, Grisley?"

"No, it wasn't," was the answer. "And how I'm to git home now, I don't know," added the old man, helplessly.

"Where do you live?" questioned Tom.

"The other side of Ashton, on the Millbury road."

"All right, then, I'll take you there when I go down to the depot,"

answered Tom. "That is, if you want to ride with me."
"I want to know jest how we stand on this mortgage question first,"

announced Henry Grisley. "I want your offer down in black and white."

"You shall have it, and the others can be witnesses to it," answered Tom, and in the course of the next quarter of an hour a paper was drawn up and duly signed by which Tom agreed that the mortgage should be taken over by the Rovers within the next thirty days, with all back interest paid, and that Henry Grisley should be paid a bonus of twenty-five dollars for his trouble and for his lawyer's fees. To bind the bargain Tom handed the old man a ten-dollar bill on account, which Henry Grisley stowed away in a leather wallet with great satisfaction.

"Oh, Tom! it's just splendid of you to help us out in this manner!" said Minnie, after the transaction had been concluded and while old Grisley and Mr. Sanderson were talking together.

"I'm glad to be of service to you," answered the youth. "I only hope for your sake, and for the sake of Songbird, that the money that was stolen is recovered. Songbird is going to get on the trail of that rascal if it is possible to do so."

"I hope they do locate that fellow, Tom. If they don't I'm afraid pa will never forgive poor John."

"Oh, don't say that, Minnie. 'Never' is such a long word it should not have been put in the dictionary," and Tom smiled grimly.

Now that he felt fairly certain that he was to get his money, Henry Grisley was in much better humor.

"I suppose I might as well have left that mortgage as it was," he mumbled. "It was payin' pretty good interest."

"Well, that was for you to decide, Grisley," returned Mr. Sanderson.

"Personally I don't see how you are going to make any better investment in these times."

"Well, I've got thirty days in which to make up my mind, ain't I?"

queried the old man. "If I don't want to close out the mortgage I ain't got to, have I?"

"Certainly you've got to sell out, now that you have bargained to do so," put in Tom. "You can't expect us to pull our money out of another investment to put it into this one and then not get it."

"Hum! I didn't think o' that," mused old Grisley. He thought hard for a moment, pursing up his lips and twisting his beadlike eyes first one way and then another. "Supposin' I was to say right now that I'd keep the mortgage? What would you do about it?"

"Do you really mean it, Grisley?" asked Mr. Sanderson, anxiously.

"Depends on what this young man says, Sanderson. One thing is sure; I ain't goin' to give up that ten dollars he give me--and Fogg is got to be paid somehow."

"Look here! if you want to keep the mortgage just say so," declared Tom.

"It's a good mortgage and pays good interest. You can't invest your money around here to any better advantage."

"All right, then, I'll keep the mortgage," announced Henry Grisley. "But understand, young man, I'm to keep that ten dollars you give me too," he added shrewdly.

"Well, I don't see----" began Tom, when Mr. Sanderson interrupted him.

"All right, Grisley, you keep the ten dollars, and you settle with Fogg," announced the farmer. "And it's understood that you are to make out the mortgage for at least one year longer."

"Can't ye give me more'n the ten dollars?" asked Henry Grisley. "Mebbe I might have to pay Fogg more'n that."

"Don't you pay him a cent more," said Tom. "His services aren't worth it."

"I won't pay him nothin' if I can git out of it," responded the old man, shrewdly. "If I keep the mortgage, then what has he done for me?

Nothin'. Mebbe I'll give him half of the ten dollars. I've had jest as much trouble as he has."

Following this discussion the paper formerly drawn up was destroyed and a note written out and signed by Henry Grisley, in which the old man agreed to renew the mortgage for one year from the date on which it had been due.

"To tell ye the truth, I wouldn't have bothered about this," explained old Grisley, in a burst of confidence; "but, you see, Fogg knew the mortgage was due and he come to me and asked me what I was goin' to do about it. And then when word come that your money had been stolen, he told me that I'd better foreclose or otherwise I might git next to nothin'."

"The underhanded rascal!" was Mr. Sanderson's comment.

"That's just what he is," answered Tom. "You know we had a lot of trouble with him last year--and evidently we are not done with him yet,"

he added, as he thought of what Belright Fogg had said concerning the snowball thrown by Sam.

Tom wanted to say a good word for Songbird, and the opportunity came when, a few minutes later, and before their departure, Minnie invited them to partake of some cake and hot coffee. While Grisley sat down in the dining-room, the youth talked to the farmer.

"Now, Mr. Sanderson, I have done what I could for you," he said, coming at once to the point; "and now I want to say a word or two about poor Songbird. He feels awfully bad over this matter, and he thinks that you are doing him an injustice. And let me say I think so too," and Tom looked the farmer squarely in the eyes as he spoke.

"Yes, I know, Rover, but----"

"Now, Mr. Sanderson, supposing you had been in Songbird's place and had been knocked down and nearly killed; what would you say if you were treated as you are treating him? Wouldn't you be apt to think that it was a pretty mean piece of business?"

At these plain words the farmer flushed and for the instant some angry words came to his lips. But then he checked himself and turned his eyes away.

"Maybe you are right, and maybe I was a bit hasty with the lad," he said hesitatingly. "But you see I was all worked up. It took me a good many years to save that four thousand dollars, and now that I am getting old it won't be no easy matter for me to save that amount over again."

"You won't have to save it over again, Mr. Sanderson. Songbird insists upon it that just as soon as he gets to work he's going to pay you back dollar for dollar."

"Did he tell you that?"

"He did. And he told the others the same thing. He'll make that loss up to you if it takes him ten years to do it. I've known him for a good many years now. We went to Putnam Hall Military Academy together before we came to Brill--and I know he is a fellow who always keeps his word.

He's one of the best friends we Rover boys have. He's a little bit off on the subject of poetry, but otherwise he's just as smart and sensible and true-blue as they make 'em," went on Tom, enthusiastically. "And not only that, he comes from a very nice family. They are not rich, but neither are they poor, and they are good people to know and be connected with," and Tom looked at the farmer knowingly.

"I see, Rover." Mr. Sanderson drew a deep breath, and then looked through the doorway to where Minnie was pouring out the coffee. "If I was too hasty I--I--am sorry."

"And you will let Songbird come here and call on your daughter?"

"I--I suppose so, if Minnie wants him to come."

"Thank you, Mr. Sanderson. I am sure you won't regret your kindness,"

said Tom, and insisted upon grasping the farmer's hand and shaking it warmly. Then he went in to have some cake and coffee before taking his departure with old Grisley.

"So you are going back to New York, are you, Tom?" said the girl while he was being served.

"Yes, I am going to take the train this afternoon," he answered, and then continued: "I've got a loose button here on my coat, Minnie. Will you fasten it before I go?"

"Sure I will," she returned, and a few minutes later led the way to a corner of the sitting-room, where was located a sewing basket.

"I wasn't worrying much about losing the button, Minnie," he whispered.

"I wanted to tell you about Songbird. I have just spoken to your father about him, and he says he can come to see you the same as he used to."

"Oh, Tom! did he really say that?" and Minnie's eyes brightened greatly.

"Yes, he did. And as soon as I get to Ashton I am going to send Songbird a telephone message to that effect," returned Tom.

"Oh, Tom! will you?" and she looked at him pleadingly.

"Surest thing you know, Minnie. And believe me, Songbird, when he gets that news, will be the happiest fellow in Brill."

"I don't think he'll be any happier than I'll be," answered the girl; and then of a sudden blushed deeply and finished sewing on the button without another word.

Ten minutes later Tom bade the Sandersons good-bye, and, accompanied by Henry Grisley, drove away in the direction of Ashton. Old Grisley was left at his home, and then Tom took himself to the depot, where, from a telephone booth, he sent a message to Songbird telling the would-be poet of Brill how it had come about that Grisley had agreed to renew the mortgage for one year, and how Mr. Sanderson had said that Songbird could renew his calls upon Minnie if he so desired.

"Tom, you're a wonder!" said Songbird over the telephone, "you're a wonder, that's all I can say!"

"Never mind what I am," returned the fun-loving Rover, kindly; "you just see if you can get on the trail of that fellow who stole the four thousand dollars, and at the same time you get busy and make up for lost time with Minnie. Good-bye!" and then he hung up the receiver, and a few minutes later was on board the train bound for the metropolis.