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The word "promptly" means more expedition than reasonable time. A man has a reasonable time in which to do a thing where no time is prescribed, without the aid of the word "promptly." So, it ought to be clear that the use of that word should entitle him to something more than he would have if he had not made use of it.
The parties contracted by telegraph for the sale of a carload of fresh eggs. The defendant buyers Lepman & Heggie offered 18 cents and required prompt acceptance, which offer was received by the plaintiff sellers J. E. Brewer. The defendants did not receive the plaintiff’s acceptance until the time they telegraphed back that it was too late and they expected a discount. The eggs had already been sent by the time the plaintiff received the defendant’s second telegram. When the defendant refused to pay the full contract price for the eggs, the plaintiff sued for the alleged deficiency. Plaintiff recovered judgment but the trial court granted the defendant’s a new trial.
Was the instruction that the words meant a reasonable time proper?
The court affirmed after if found that the time of response was as much a condition of the parties' contract as the price, and it ought to be manifest that the plaintiff’s inability or failure to comply with the defendant’s request to reply promptly should not prejudice the defendant. Moreover, the plaintiff having taken the time to eat dinner before responding to the defendant's telegram was hardly any excuse, even if the delay had been excusable.