From Chap. 18, Dayton, OH, 1820

I went to the store of a kind benefactor named Horatio Phillips. He seemed happy to see me until I said, "I know I promised to repay you on this trip-instead of asking for more-but the board hasn't sent us our government funds yet."

After pursing his lips, he talked to me from a step stool while putting a new ball of twine in the holder above the counter. "To tell you the truth, Reverend McCoy, I'm hesitant about risking any more on the patronage of that board of yours back east."

"Here's my problem," I said. "I wasn't able to pay my fare in almost every place I stopped on my way. I was forced to ask them to wait until my backward trip. This was more than a little mortifying since I wasn't sure I would have even one bit on my return."

He hesitated. "Let me think about it. Call again on the morrow."

I spent the night and the walk to his store the next morning in prayerful anxiety. My spirits lifted when I entered; he was already taking some coins out of his cash box--French ecus and Spanish and American dollars. "Come with me while I make change for my customers," he said.

My hopes temporarily dashed, I followed him through the curtained doorway to his storeroom, shamelessly dropping hints all the way, "I hate to see you chop those up. It's been a long time since I've seen a whole coin." He proceeded to a workbench where he laid the first dollar on a huge, closed vise. With mallet and cold chisel, he began cutting the coin into four two-bit pieces. I said, "You're much better at that than I; I can only halve a coin."

"Practice," he said. "There's a harness maker down the street can cut a dollar into perfect sixteenths."

I held up what remained of my left hand. "I use this as an excuse."