Sometimes in agreements to forbear, a fixed period for forbearance is stated, and sometimes perpetual forbearance or compromise of a claim is agreed upon. Occasionally, however, the agreement simply provides for forbearance, and it becomes essential to construe the meaning of the bargain. It is conceivable that requested forbearance, where no limit of time is fixed, may be (1) forbearance for such time as the promisor desires; or, (2) forbearance for a reasonable time; or, (3) perpetual forbearance. If an agreement to forbear is only for such time as the promisor shall choose, it is not sufficient consideration.90 But forbearance for a reasonable time if requested is a sufficient consideration even though no promise of forbearance is made, a unilateral contract being as good as a bilateral.91 Mere forbearance without v. Grierson,  1 K. B. 761, 14 Ann. Cas. 247; cf. Chapman v. Franklin, 21 Times L. R. 515, where forbearance to sue on a gambling debt itself was held insufficient consideration for a promise to pay money. The cases in this note would not be followed in the United States where a wager is considered not merely unenforceable but unlawful; see infra, Sec. 1668; and even under the English theory of a wager, seem hard to reconcile with the decisions in the following note.
88 Ex parte Banner, 17 Ch. D. 480; Chapman v. Franklin, 21 Times L. R. 615; Union Collection Co. v. Buck-man, 150 Cal. 159, 88 Pac. 708, 119 Am. St. 164, 9 L. R. A. (N. 3.) 668; Montgomery v. Grenier, 117 Minn. 416, 136 N. W. 9. See also Roberts v. Anthony (Tex. Civ. App.), 185 S. W. 423.
89 In Gaar v. Vanhook, 216 Ky. 332, 172 S. W. 680, where the defendant gave notes secured by a mortgage for the price of a threshing outfit, his agreement with the seller not to defend a suit on the notes if he was relieved of personal liability was held sufficient consideration to support an agreement to take the property in full satisfaction of its claim, though the defendant was legally liable on the notes. Cf. Roberts v. Anthony (Tex. Civ. App.), 185 S. W. 423.
90 Strong P. Sheffield, 144 N. Y. 392, 39 N. E. 330.
91 Morton v. Bum, 7 A. ft E. 19; Wilby v. Elgee, L. R. 10 C. P. 497; Fullerton v. Provincial Bank,  A. C. 309; Glegg v. Bromley,  3 K. B. 474, 481; Crears v. Hunter, 19 Q. B. D. 341; Edgerton v Weaver, 105 111. 43; Newton v. Carson, 80 Ky. 309; King v. Upton, 4 Me. 387; Home Ins. Co. v. Watson, 59 N. Y. 390; Niles-Bement-Pond Co. v. Ury, S3 N. Y.
request, however, is insufficient.92 It is generally said that a request for forbearance which does not specify the time for which forbearance is requested, will be construed as requesting forbearance for a reasonable time.93 In considering the propriety of such a construction in a particular case, it is important to determine whether the agreement is unilateral or bilateral. If the offer contemplates a unilateral contract for which the consideration is forbearance, it is almost impossible to suppose that the parties can have contemplated perpetual forbearance, since an indefinite period of time would have to elapse before the consideration in such a contract would be performed and, therefore, before the promise would be performable.94 Accordingly if an offer contemplates perpetual forbearance a court would construe it as contemplating a bilateral rather than a unilateral arrangement, and, indeed, wherever possible a court will construe a contract for any forbearance as bilateral rather than unilateral, especially where the time of forbearance is to extend over a considerable period,95 since otherwise, until the end of the period, there would be merely a revocable offer.96
Misc. 306, 108 N. Y. Supp. 236; Jami-son-Semple Co. v. Richard, 78 N. Y. Misc. 355, 138 N. Y. Supp. 401. A few decisions have held that the transaction is invalid unless the claimant not only forbears at request but promises to forbear. Mecorney v. Stanley, 8 Cush. 86; Mauler v. Churchill, 127 Man. 31 (cf. Lascelles v. Clark, 204 Man. 362, 90 N. E. 875); Perkins v. Proud, 62 Barb. 420; Shupe c. Gal-braith, 32 Pa. 10 (cf. Schroyer v. Thompson, 262 Pa. 282, 105 Atl. 274). See also First Nat. Bank v. Nakdi-men, 111 Ark. 223, 163 S. W. 786; Shadburne v. Daly, 76 Cal. 355, 18 Pac. 403; In re Thomson's Est., 165 Cal. 290, 131 Foe. 1045; Markel v. De Francesco, (Conn. 1919), 105 Atl. 70S; Lambert v. Clewley, 80 Me. 480, 15 Atl. 61; Saunders v. Bank of Mecklenburg, 112 Va. 443, 71 S. E. 714. The cases last cited fail to recognise the validity of unilateral contracts, and assume the necessity of mutuality of obligation in every contract, whereas such mutuality never exists in a unilateral contract.
92 Burnett v. Turner, 105 Ark. 290, 151 S. W. 249; First Nat. Bank v. Nakdimen, 111 Ark. 223, 163 S. W. 785; Rositake .v Meyer, 95 N. Y. Misc. 356, 169 N. Y. S. 464; Schroyer v. Thompson, 262 Pa. 282, 105 Atl. 274; and see cases at the end of the preceding note, where the court, in some instances at least, seems to have intended, in speaking of the necessity of an "agreement" to forbear, a request to forbear.
93 Oldershaw v. King, 2 H. 4 N. 517; Fullerton v. Provincial Bank,  A. .C. 309; Glegg v. Bromley, [19121 3 K. B. 474, 481; Moore v. McKenney, 83 Me. 80, 21 Atl. 749; Haskell v. Tukeabury, 92 Me. 551, 43 Atl. 500; Howe v. Taggart, 133 Mass. 284; Calkins v. Chandler, 36 Mich. 320, 24 Am. Rep. 493; Glaesock v. Glasscock, 66 Mo. 627; Hockenbury v. Meyers, 34 N. J. L. 346; Elting.v. Vanderlyn, 4 Johns. 237; Traders' Nat. Bank p. Parker, 130 N. Y. 415, 29 N. E. 1094, 42 N. Y. St. 506; Strong p. Sheffield, 144 N. Y. 392, 39 N. E. 330; Citizens' Bank v. Babbitt, 71 Vt. 182, 44 Atl. 71.
94 Possibly the giving of a release of the claim or the lapse of the period of limitation might be regarded as the equivalent of perpetual forbearance.
A bilateral contract which contemplates perpetual forbearance is in effect an agreement for the discharge of the claim, like a covenant not to sue.97 But where a promise to forbear is asked, it seems that unless a promise of perpetual forbearance is specifically requested, the natural implication ordinarily will be that forbearance for a reasonable time only is requested. All the circumstances of the cases and especially the amount promised must be considered. If a debtor who owes an unliquidated claim worth about one hundred dollars promises to pay $110 if the creditor will agree to forbear, the natural inference is that the sum promised is to be paid not simply for forbearance, but for the discharge of the claim. The agreement if made is indeed an accord, which under special circumstances may be shown to have been taken itself in satisfaction of the original debt,98 or, more commonly, will be construed as an executory agreement of accord, which is not itself satisfaction, but contemplates forbearance for a reasonable time, when satisfaction is to be given by the performance of the accord.99 If the debtor promises, however, $10 to the creditor in return for the latter's promise to forbear, the natural inference is that the $10 is to be paid not in satisfaction of the claim, but merely for the forbearance; and, here, too, the forbearance requested is for a reasonable time. The amount which the debtor promises to pay for the promised forbearance furnishes some basis for determining what a reasonable time may be. The larger the sum promised, as compared with the amount of the original debt, the longer the period of forbearance may be assumed to be.
95 Lennox v. Murphy, 171 Mare. 370, 50 N. E. 644; Lascelless v. Clark, 201 Matt. 362, 90 N. E. 875.
96See supra, 560.
97 As to such covenants see supra, Sec.1823.
98This would be especially likely if the claim to be forborne was against a third person-not against the promisor himself.
99 See infra, 55 1841, 1846.