“Why I had a teacher,” said Mary Bell. “I think that Mary Erskine is a teacher; and a very good one besides.”
“I think so too,” said Mrs. Bell.
The children went out to get some wild flowers for Mary Bell to carry home, and Mrs. Bell then asked Mary if she had begun to consider what it was best for her to do.
“Yes,” said Mary Erskine. “I think it will be best for me to sell the farm, and the new house, and all the stock, and live here in this house with my children.”
Mrs. Bell did not answer, but seemed to be thinking whether this would be the best plan or not.
“The children cannot go to school from here,” said Mrs. Bell.
“No,” said Mary Erskine, “but I can teach them myself, I think, till they are old enough to walk to the school-house. I find that I can learn the letters faster than Bella can, and that without interfering with my work; and Mary Bell will come out here now and then and tell us what we don’t know.”
“Yes,” said Mrs. Bell, “I shall be glad to have her come as often as you wish. But it seems to me that you had better move into the village. Half the money that the farm and the stock will sell for, will buy you a very pleasant house in the village, and the interest on the other half, together with what you can earn, will support you comfortably.”
“Yes,” said Mary Erskine, “but then I should be growing poorer, rather than richer, all the time; and when my children grow large, and I want the money for them, I shall find that I have spent it all. Now if I stay here in this house, I shall have no rent to pay, nor shall I lose the interest of a part of my money, as I should if I were to buy a house in the village with it to live in myself. I can earn enough here too by knitting, and by spinning and weaving, for all that we shall want while the children are young. I can keep a little land with this house, and let Thomas, or some other such boy live with me, and raise such things as we want to eat; and so I think I can get along very well, and put out all the money which I get from the farm and the stock, at interest. In ten or fifteen years it will be two thousand dollars. Then I shall be rich, and can move into the village without any danger.
“Not two thousand dollars!” said Mrs. Bell.
“Yes,” said Mary Erskine, “if I have calculated it right.”
“Why, how much do you think the farm and stock will sell for?” asked Mrs. Bell.
“About eight hundred dollars,” said Mary Erskine. “That put out at interest will double in about twelve years.”
“Very well,” rejoined Mrs. Bell, “but that makes only sixteen hundred dollars.”
“But then I think that I can lay up half a dollar a week of my own earnings, especially when Bella gets a little bigger so as to help me about the house,” said Mary Erskine.
“Well;” said Mrs. Bell.
“That,” continued Mary Erskine, “will be twenty-five dollars a year. Which will be at least three hundred dollars in twelve years.”