By The Shores of Silver Lake Book Discussion - Unexpected Visitor
Laura was washing dishes when Jack's growl alerted her someone was coming. Looking out the window she spotted a buggy being driven by a strange woman she didn't recognized. The house was untidy and both she and Ma were ashamed to have such company now. Mary, Carrie, baby Grace and Ma had all come down with scarlet fever and there hadn't been anybody around that could help Pa and Laura. The doctor had been there every day and Pa worried about how he would ever pay the bills. Far worse, the fever had robbed Mary of her eyesight. Laura described the woman in the buggy for Mary because Pa had said that she must now be Mary's eyes. The woman turned out to be the girls' Aunt Docia.
After a few hours of catching up on news from back home she explained the main reason for her visit--Docia's husband Hi was a contractor for the railroad. He was in need of a good man to be store keeper, bookkeeper and time keeper. Pa could have the job should he choose. It paid fifty dollars a month. Pa knew what that money would mean and he was itching once again to move further west. The grasshopper plague left a meager crop these past two years and the winter months didn't provide much meat to hunt and feed the family.
With Caroline's blessing Pa was able to sell the farm for two hundred dollars cash. It would be enough to square up on what they owed with a little extra left over. It was settled that Pa would leave with Docia in the morning, and in a couple of months when Mary was feeling stronger, the rest of the family would come to him by train.