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Jemmy,” said Phonny, turning back and calling out aloud, “ Jemmy! what's his name ?”
Jemmy did not answer. He was fully occupied in getting into the wagon.
Beechnut called Phonny back and asked him to hold his horse, while he went to catch Jemmy's. He did it by opening one of the bags and taking out a little grain, and by means of it enticing the stray horse near enough to enable him to take hold of the bridle. He then fastened him behind the wagon, and putting
Beechnut carries Jemmy home.
Jemmy's two bags in, he turned round and went back to carry Jemmy home, leaving Malleville and Phonny to walk the rest of the way to Mary Erskine's. Besides their ride, they lost the remainder of the story of Sligo, if that can be said to be lost which never existed. For at the time when Beechnut paused in his narration, he had told the story as far as he had invented it. He had not thought of another word.
Her ignorance of the Alphabet.
MARY ERSKINE was an orphan. Her mother died when she was about twelve years old. Her father had died long before, and after her father's death her mother was very poor, and lived in so secluded and solitary a place, that Mary had no opportunity then to go to school. She began to work too as soon as she was able to do any thing, and it was necessary from that day forward for her to work all the time; and this would have prevented her from going to school, if there had been one near. Thus when her mother died, although she was an intelligent and very sensible girl, she could neither read nor write a word. She told Mrs. Bell the day that she went to live with her, that she did not even know any of the letters, except the round one and the crooked one. The round one she said she always knew, and as for S she learned that, because it stood for Erskine. This shows how little she knew about spelling.
Her position in Mrs. Bell's family.
Mrs. Bell wanted Mary Erskine to help her in taking care of her own daughter Mary, who was then an infant. As both the girls were named Mary, the people of the family and the neighbors gradually fell into the habit of calling each of them by her full name, in order to distinguish them from each other. Thus the baby was never called Mary, but always Mary Bell, and the little nursery maid was always known as Mary Erskine.
Mary Erskine became a great favorite at Mrs. Bell's. She was of a very light-hearted and joyjoyous disposition, always contented and happy, singing like a nightingale at her work all the day long, when she was alone, and cheering and enlivening all around her by her buoyant spirits when she was in company. When Mary Bell became old enough to run about and play, Mary Erskine became her playmate and companion, as well as her protector. There was no distinction of rank to separate them. If Mary Bell had been as old as Mary Erskine and had had a younger sister, her duties in the household would have been exactly the same as Mary Erskine's were. In fact, Mary Erskine's position was altogether that of an older sister, and strangers visiting the family would have
Why Mary Erskine did not go to school.
supposed that the two girls were really sisters, had they not both been named Mary.
Mary Erskine was about twelve years older than Mary Bell, so that when Mary Bell began to go to school, which was when she was about five years old, Mary Erskine was about seventeen. Mrs. Bell had proposed, when Mary Erskine first came to her house, that she would go to school and learn to read and write ; but Mary had been very much disinclined to do so. In connection with the amiableness and gentleness of her character and her natural good şense, she had a great deal of pride and independence of spirit ; and she was very
unwilling to go to school-being, as she was, almost in her teens—and begin there to learn her letters with the little children. Mrs. Bell ought to have required her to go, notwithstanding her reluctance, or else to have made some other proper arrangement for teaching her to read and write. Mrs. Bell was aware of this in fact, and frequently resolved that she would do so. But she postponed the performance of her resolution from month to month and year to year, and finally it was not performed at all. Mary Erskine was so very useful at home, that a convenient time for sparing her never came.