Jonas accordingly brought a sheet of paper and a pen and ink, and took his place at a table at the back side of the room, and the farmer dictated to him as follows:
“I take this opportunity to inform you that we are all alive and well, and I hope that you may be the same. This will be handed to you by Josey, who leaves us to-morrow, according to your orders. We have been very glad to have him with us, though he hasn’t had opportunity to learn much. However, I suppose he’ll fetch up again in his learning, when he gets home. He has behaved pretty fair on the whole, as boys go. He will make a smart man, I’ve no doubt, though he don’t seem to take much to farming.
“We hope to have you,
and your wife and children, come and
pay us a visit this coming summer,—say in raspberry time,
which will be just after haying.”
“There,” said the farmer, “now fold it up, and write my brother’s name on the back, and to-morrow morning I’ll look it over, and sign my name to it.”
Jonas accordingly folded the letter up, and wrote upon the back, Joseph Jones, Esq., Bristol. When it was done, he laid it on the table.
Amos came and took it up. “Jonas,” said he, “I wish I could write as well as that.”
The farmer had a daughter whose name was Isabella. She was about eighteen years old. She was at this time spinning in a corner of the room, near a window. She came forward to look at the letter.
“Yes, Jonas,” said she, “you write beautifully. I wish you’d teach me to write like that.”
“Very well,” said Jonas, “that I can do.”
“How can you do it?” said Isabella.
“Why, we can have an evening school, these long evenings,” replied Jonas. “You get through your spinning in time to have half an hour for school before bed-time.”
“Half an hour wouldn’t be enough,” said Amos.
“O, yes,” replied Jonas; “half an hour every day will amount to a great deal in three months.”
“Yes,” said the farmer, “that’s a very good plan; you shall have an evening school, and Jonas shall teach you;—an excellent plan.”
“What shall we study?” said Isabella.
“Whatever you want to learn,” replied Jonas. “You say you want to learn to write; that will do for one thing.”
“And I want to learn more arithmetic,” said Amos.
“Very well,” said Jonas. “We’ll have an evening school, half an hour every evening, beginning at eight o’clock. Have you got any school-books in the house, Isabella?”
Isabella said there were some on a shelf up stairs.
“Well,” said Jonas, “bring them to me, and I’ll look over them, and form a plan.”
Isabella brought Jonas the school-books, and he looked them over, but said nothing then about his plan. He reflected upon the subject until the next day, because he did not wish to propose any thing to them, until it was well matured.