Edith's Lesson by Mrs. Margaret E. Sangster


OUT in the meadow the scented breeze

Was full of the gossip of birds and bees;

Out in the orchard the glad things flew,

And o'er meadow and orchard the sky was blue—

The sky was blue, and the clouds were white,

And the summer morning was blithe and bright.

"It is quite too lovely in-doors to stay,"

Said Edith, "whether I work or play."

So slate and pencil and fairy-book

Were carried forth to a cozy nook,

Where the shadows glanced, and the sunbeams shone,

And the dear little girl could be alone.

There were hard examples that must be done,

For father to see ere the set of sun;

And there was the merriest tale to read,

Of a lady fair, on a milk-white steed,—

Of a lady fair, and a stately lover,

And the charm that lay in a four-leaf clover.

"Study the lesson!" the robin said,

As he poised on the branch above her head,

With a whirr of wings like the beat of drums;

"Edith," the bee hummed, "mind the sums!"

But shadow and shine in their airy play

Coaxed for the story that matched the day.

"Any time will do for the tiresome task,"

Said Edith at last, "and I think I'll ask

Papa to excuse my Arithmetic,—

In such warm weather I might be sick

If I taxed this poor little brain of mine."

So she listened, you see, to shadow and shine;

And then full-length on the velvet grass,

She dreamed of delights that would come to pass

When she, too large for the rigid rule

Of the happy home, or the stricter school,

Should be a woman, and quite at ease

Each hour to do what she might please.


"On silvery paper, with golden pen,"

She mused,"I'd write love-stories then,

And wherever I went, would people say,

'The gifted Edith is here to-day! '

And maybe,—for stranger things have been,—

I might Editor be of a Magazine!"

No higher flight could her fancy take,

Were the darling child asleep or awake;

And presently there in that paradise,

The lids fell over the heavy eyes,

And the noon-bell's summons, loud and clear,

Was heeded not by her slumbering ear.

How long was her nap, I do not know,

But she sauntered home when the sun was low';

Dinner was over, and father frowned,

And chided her gently for "idling round,"

While gravely he bade her be sure and see

That she solved her examples after tea.