Unfortunately, the horse Fred buys turns out to have temper problems, and it gives itself a bum leg by kicking at the groom and catching its foot in a rope.
So now the horse is worthless, and Fred only has fifty pounds towards repaying the debt.
He decides that the only thing he can do is to go and confess everything to Mr. Garth, and then go and tell Mary himself.
(He knows his father will be too angry to lend him any money, so he doesn't bother asking.)
Mr. Garth isn't at his office, so Fred goes to his house.
Mrs. Garth is there, working in the kitchen while teaching two of the younger children at the same time.
Mrs. Garth is an intelligent and serious woman, but she feels motherly towards Fred in spite of his occasional stupidity.
She doesn't know anything about the debt that her husband had co-signed, though.
She's happy to see Fred, and invites him to sit and wait for Caleb to come home.
While Fred waits, Mrs. Garth tells him about their plan to send Alfred, the oldest of the boys, to school for a good education. They've been saving money for it, and have just scraped 92 pounds together for the purpose.
Fred winces when he hears this – all that money is going to have to go to pay the debt.
He tells them both when Mr. Garth comes home, and Mrs. Garth immediately realizes that they'll have to give up Alfred's school money, and borrow money from Mary, besides.
Fred leaves them to discuss it by themselves.
Mrs. Garth tells Caleb that he'll have to stop working for free so often.