1. The plaintiff sued the defendant and a consent decree was taken in March 1911. One of the terms of the consent decree was the exchange of the plaintiff's house for one of the defendants' houses after the plaintiff had constructed on his premises a well and a sink. These additions were to be made and the exchange effected by the end of June 1912. We are informed in argument that the work was commenced some time before the end of June, but we have no materials upon which to conclude when it was finished. It is, however, common ground that these additions were not made within the stipulated time. Two years later, in 1914, the plaintiff applied for execution. The defendant resisted, so far as this term of the contract was concerned, on the ground that time being of its essence, so much of the consent decree was voidable at his option. The only question to be considered was whether time was or was not of the essence of this term in the consent decree. Both the lower Courts came to the conclusion that it was not.
2. Speaking here for myself, I have not much admiration for the equity rule that in buying or selling or otherwise transferring real estate a man must never be allowed to mean what he says. That if he says the bargain is to be concluded within six months, he must not be taken to mean six months, but any reasonable time which, according to the view of the Courts, may extend to six or sixty years. The rule is, however, venerable and has the sanction of such high authority that it is useless now to criticise it, and, we think, that this is a case in which we can fairly hold that at the time the consent decree was made, the defendant did not regard it as of vital importance that the additions which were to be made to the plaintiff's house before the exchange could be effected, should be completed before the 30th of June 1912. He has endeavoured to show that he intended time to be of the essence of the contract by asserting that he had entered into another bargain to exchange this house as soon as he obtained it in July 1912 for a field, and that in consequence of the exchange not being effected within the time stipulated, that bargain fell through. Had this been true, however, it appears to us that the defendant would certainly have taken steps to compel the plaintiff to be more expeditious in completing the additions which had to be made, before the house could be exchanged. It is no part of the defendant's case here that either during the fifteen months which intervened between the consent decree and the end of June 1912, he attempted to expedite these additions in any way or that when he found they were not completed by the end of June 1912, he made any complaint or protest to the plaintiff on that account. If he had really deemed time to be of the essence of the contract, we should have expected some such conduct on his part. There is no trace of it. Until the Darkhast was taken out in 1914 the defendant gave the plaintiff no notice whatever that he intended to treat this term of the consent decree as now void.
3. For these reasons we think on the whole that the conclusion arrived at by the lower Courts is right and that this appeal must be dismissed with all costs.