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My engine kicks when the revs fall below 1,500 revs.

(1999 Ford Escort)
in Winnsboro, SC on October 15, 2012
I live on a narrow windy track and drive mostly in 2nd gear until I get to town. When I slow down to go round a bend the revs fall below 1,500 and the car won't pull away up the hill with out the engine jumping. I then have to put it into first gear. It never used to do this. What is wrong with it?
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