« ForrigeFortsett »
Her pleasure in her property.
An advantage. namented with shrubbery and trees, so that it was a very agreeable object to look upon of itself, independently of the pleasure of ownership. In the same manner she liked to see the bridge, and think when teams and people were passing over it, that a part of all the toll which they paid, would, in the end, come to her. She thus took the same kind of pleasure in having purchased a house, and shares in a bridge, that any lady in a city would take in an expensive new carpet, or a rosewood piano, which would cost about the same sum; and then she had all the profit, in the shape of the annual income, besides.
There was one great advantage too which Mary Erskine derived from owning this property, which, though she did not think of it at all when she commenced her prudent and economical course, at the time of her marriage, proved in the end to be of inestimable value to her. This advantage was the high degree of respectability which it gave her in the public estimation. The people of the village gradually found out how she managed, and how fast her property was increasing, and they entertained for her a great deal of that kind of respect which worldly prosperity always commands. The store-keep
Mary Erskine's studies.
Bella's and Albert's.
ers were anxious to have her custom. Those who had money to lend were always very ready to let her have it, if at any time she wished to make up a sum for a new investment: and all the ladies of the village were willing that their daughters should go out to her little farm to visit Bella, and to have Bella visit them in return. Thus Mary Erskine found that she was becoming quite an important personage.
Her plan of teaching herself and her children succeeded perfectly. By the time that she had thoroughly learned to write her own name, she knew half of the letters of the alphabet, for her name contained nearly that number. She next learned to write her children's names, Bella Forester and Albert Forester. After that, she learned to write the names of all the months, and to read them when she had written them. She chose the names of the months, next after the names of her own family, so that she might be able to date her letters if she should ever have occasion to write any.
Mary Bell set copies for her, when she came out to see her, and Mary Erskine went on so much faster than Bella, that she could teach her very well. She required Bella to spend an hour at her studies every day. Thomas made a
Mary Erskine finishes learning to read.
little desk for her, and her mother bought her a slate and a pencil, and in process of time an arithmetic, and other books. As soon as Mary Erskine could read fluently, Mary Bell used to bring out books to her, containing entertaining stories. At first Mary Bell would read these stories to her once, while she was at her work, and then Mary Erskine, having heard Mary Bell read them, could read them herself in the evening without much difficulty. At length she made such progress that she could read the stories herself alone, the first time, with very little trouble.
Thus things went on in a very pleasant and prosperous manner, and this was the condition of Mary Erskine and of her affairs, at the time when Malleville and Phonny went to pay her their visit, as described in the first chapter of this volume.
Phonny and Malleville again.
The bird's nest.
THE VISIT TO MARY ERSKINE's.
MALLEVILLE and Phonny arrived at Mary Erskine's about an hour after Beechnut left them. They met with no special adventures by the way, except that when they reached the great pine-tree, Phonny proposed to climb up, for the purpose of examining a small bunch which he saw upon one of the branches, which he thought was a bird's nest. the same pine-tree that marked the place at which a road branched off into the woods, where Mary Bell had lost her way, several years before. Malleville was very unwilling to have Phonny climb up upon such a high tree, but Phonny himself was very desirous to make the attempt. There was a log fence at the foot of the tree, and the distance was not very great from the uppermost log of the fence, to the lowermost branch of the tree. So Phonny thought that he could get up without any difficulty.
Malleville was afraid to have him try, and
Climbing for the bird's nest.
she said that if he did, he would be acting just as foolish as the boy that Beechnut had told them about, who nipped his own nose; and that she should not stop to see him do any such foolishness. So she walked along as fast as she
Phonny unfortunately was rendered only the more determined to climb the tree by Malleville's opposition. He accordingly mounted up to the top of the fence, and thence reaching the lower branches of the tree he succeeded at length, by dint of much scrambling and struggling, in lifting himself up among them. He climbed out to the limb where he had seen the appearances of a bird's nest, but found to his disappointment that there was no bird's nest there. The bunch was only a little tuft of twigs growing out together.
Phonny then began to shout out for Malleville to wait for him.
Mal-le-ville! Mal-le-ville!” said he. Wait a minute for me. I am coming down."
He did not like to be left there all alone, in the gloomy and solitary forest. So he made all the haste possible in descending. There are a great many accidents which may befal a boy in