A Lesson


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


“A person of culture would never behave in such a manner,” sniffed Miss Sarah. She swept her two little charges away from what she considered a spectacle, not wanting their young minds to be contaminated by the people or what they were doing.

Little Nan, however, was displeased. She was fascinated by  the activity she’d glimpsed as Miss Sarah pulled them away, and she wanted to see more.

“No!  Miss Sarah, I want to see!” she insisted, pulling hard to remove her hand from that of her governess.  Nan was a child who generally got her own way, and this time was no different from all the others.  Miss Sarah was appalled, and struggled to keep Nathaniel’s hand in hers as she followed the running Nan back toward the show.

Nan was enthralled.  A small stage had been set up, and there were two puppets being managed by strings.  Nan knew how marionettes worked, and she was quite impressed with the ones filling her gaze now.  They struggled back and forth, the male figure bopping the female over the head, and both of them yelling at each other.

Image result for Punch and Judy

Nan looked behind her, knowing Miss Sarah would be nearby. She saw the look of distaste on Miss Sarah’s face and felt just a little guilty for a moment, but the show was so entertaining that she soon recovered. Other spectators were laughing and making comments in favor of one puppet or the other, and when it was over they all clapped for a long time.  Money was tossed into a kettle on the ground, and people went their different ways, laughing and joking about what they had seen.

Miss Sarah took Nan’s hand again, not saying a word and showing her displeasure clearly on her expressive face.

“Miss Sarah?  Are you angry with me?”

“I’m very disappointed in you, young lady.  You not only disobeyed me, but you actually stood amongst all those common people and watched that vulgar performance, and you enjoyed it!”

“But Miss Sarah, it was funny!  It was just silly puppets. Real people don’t behave that way!”

“Oh, Nan.  You have a great deal to learn about the way people really are. Some of those–men–I won’t call them gentlemen—will go home and feel free to strike their wives. They may even believe it’s the right thing to do. Or they will find it amusing.  Would you like to know that your papa would strike your dear mama?”

Nan was thoughtful and quiet for several seconds. “Well, no. No, I would be very upset if that happened. It really isn’t funny, is it? “

“No, indeed, Nan. Never forget that.  People of culture do not behave in such a low manner. You are a lady, and you must never think or act in an unladylike manner.”

Nan thought that over. “Is that going to be my lesson on deportment for today, Miss Sarah?  Please?”

Miss Sarah looked at Nan’s serious face, and nodded in agreement.  “Yes, I believe so, Nan.”


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