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During Margarette's frequent get-togethers, little [EM] would often volunteer her skill at the piano, quickly drawing the attention of the women in the room. Quietly assembling around the piano like so many curious hens, they would fixate their bright eyes on the little bouncing curls of golden hair and delicate hands shaping the melodies of Mozart, Brahms, and Beethoven. At the end of the piece, as the cadence lifted from the piano strings, little [EM] would hop off the bench and give a precocious, if gracious, curtsey, to the adoring applause of the envious women.
Margerette was proud, and a little embarrassed, but knew better than to say so, accepting the praises of her company with the proper social graces. An incurable socialite, she knew her daughter's talent helped keep her the topic of conversation, and what need was there of anything else?
It was a night like the others, the smell of weak tea and cakes, the constant chittering of the younger women set against the constant, loud anecdotes of the older women. The sun had set and the cool blue of the night hung over the windows outside.
But tonight, [EM] did not feel like impressing her mother's company. She lay in her bed upstairs, listening to the muffled clucking of the hens in the sitting room beneath her.
'I am sorry, dear, that your darling girl is not here to play for us. Such a little darling.'
'Oh, but Margerette, you don't think-' (Margerette was constantly getting interrupted).
'I trust your angel is not ill?'
'I say, you don't really think so! Ill?'
'I dare say, how tragic.'
Margerette broke in with a reassuring laugh (as she had practiced it before, in front of Mr. M's mother). 'No, no indeed. She is merely resting. A little more tea, Suellen?'
She always had such a way with anxious ears.
[EM] pulled her head under her sheets and dreamed.
She awoke to her room… or at least that what it seemed to be. But it looked different. Much too yellow. It smelled hot and dusty, not like the cool pink dawns of summer. Confused and dizzied, she tried to sit up. Thirsty, she thought. As her mind slowly cleared, she realized that it must be about teatime, judging by the sun. How could it be tea- she had fallen asleep at night time! It would take (she did calculations) almost 20 hours! So why was she so tired? 'Mother!' She called, wringing her pillow lace around her finger.
A clatter came up the stairs. 'Oh, darling!' the clatter said as it burst through the door. Consolingly, Margerette embraced her child and kissed her on the forehead. Her lips felt cool.
'have I been asleep all day?' [EM] asked.
'Am I sick?'
'… a little,' [EM]'s sharp little ears could not help but detect the slightest waver in her mother's voice. She lay her head on her mothers cool, silk-covered shoulder and sighed. 'I'll get better soon, won't I, mother?' She asked bravely.