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The Lesson of the Pansies.


To-day Minnie came with a frown so big that it seemed to cover her whole face; there was even danger of its spreading to mine. Her first words were:

“Do I have to take a lesson to-day?”

“Certainly,” I answered. “It is your day and hour, isn’t it?”

“Yes; but it is my birthday, too, and some girls are coming to play with me. I know they are there by this time.” And her voice trails off dismally.

She is told to come to the piano, to think only of her lesson, that no time may be wasted, and she will be allowed to go as soon as is possible.

The metronome is started for scale-work, but the piano is silent; for Minnie’s hands are in her lap, while tears are running down her cheeks; as the tears come faster and faster, the hands are needed to hold a handkerchief to her eyes. What is to be done? To sympathize with this Niobe means more weeping; scolding produces a state of “won’t-do-any- thing.

Glancing around the room for inspiration a bowl of pansies seem to offer themselves as mediator. Although it is the first day of November, they have braved the weather and are much larger than usual —great, velvety beauties. Getting a handful, I lay them on the keys, one by one, speaking of their size, of the different colors and quaint faces. The hand­kerchief comes away from the eyes and Minnie begins to touch the pansies; perhaps their bright faces reproach her, for she manages to choke out: “They are beautiful”; then, picking up a grand-motherly- looking one with a frilled cap, she regards it intently a long, long time, and, smiling through her tears, says: “Isn’t she funny?”

The day is won! Pansies are gathered up and the whole lesson played carefully—without a suspicion of restless hurry. While putting on her wraps Minnie talks of school-work and school-mates in the happiest manner. When she goes home it is with a bright face and surely feeling better for having put aside the ugly thoughts, thereby making a successful lesson possible. Bless the precious pansies! They saved the lesson-hour.

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You are reading The Lesson of the Pansies. from the May, 1902 issue of The Etude Magazine.

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