"Here, sir ! Please take this bird around to Albro's, and see how much it weighs."
The idea ! What would the folks over the way say, to see the "professor" walking out with a big turkey under his arm ? That was the way the thing presented itself to the good-natured college-student acting as private tutor in the family. But Mrs. Simpson, the portly and practical housewife, had no such idea of the fitness of things.
It was the day before Thanksgiving, and the farmer who had agreed to supply her with a turkey had brought it, but had not weighed it, and, of course, they could not agree on its weight, all of which ended in the startling proposition with which we began.
"Well, if you aint the laziest man ! Just as though it was going to hurt you any to take this bird to the corner and back!" she went on, as she saw me looking, apparently, for a hole to crawl into, but, in reality, for the broom, which, when I found, I made use of in putting into execution a plan I had formed for weighing the turkey at home.
I hung the broom-handle to the gas-jet by a wire loop, and slid it along in the loop until it balanced. By this time all were curious to see what I was about.
I then fixed a wire to the turkey's feet and hooked it so that it would slide on the broomhandle. Next I got a flat-iron and fixed it in the same way. When the broom was nicely balanced, I hung the turkey on the broom end of the stick, two inches from the balancing loop. Then I hung the flat-iron on the other side, and shoved it along until it balanced the turkey. Next I measured the distances of the turkey and flatiron from the balancing loop, and found that the turkey hung two inches and the flatiron eight inches from the balancing loop. That was all. I had found the weight of the turkey, and told them: Twenty-four pounds.
"Do you s'pose I'm going to believe all that tomfoolery ? It doesn't weigh more'n twenty, I know. Here, Maggie ! Take this out and ask Albro to weigh it for you."
"I'm blamed if he hasn't hit it about right," said the farmer who had brought the turkey. "How did you find out ?"
"Well, you see," said I, "the flat-iron has a figure 6 on it; that shows that it weighs six pounds. Now, if the turkey had not weighed more than the flat-iron they would have balanced each other at the same distance from the balancing loop; but the turkey was the heavier, so I had to move the flat-iron out further. At the same distance from the loop as the turkey (two inches), the flat-iron pulled six pounds' weight, and at every addition of that distance it would pull six pounds more. Thus: at four inches it pulled twelve pounds; at six inches, eighteen pounds; and at eight inches, twenty-four pounds. At that distance it just balanced the turkey, thus proving that it weighed "
"Well, Maggie, what does Albro say ?"
"Twentyfour poun', mum," replied Maggie, coming in.
"Well, I give up," said Mrs. Simpson; and she did, and so do I till next time.