Publishing The Pansy magazine was a family affair. Every two weeks Isabella and her husband edited a new issue of the juvenile magazine. Each issue featured stories that were both instructive and entertaining, as well as articles about foreign lands and lessons on nature and science.
But perhaps the feature Isabella loved most was “The P. S. Corner.” In this column she printed letters she received from members of The Pansy Society. Children joined the society simply by pledging to overcome a fault (such as arguing with a sister, or shirking chores) with Jesus’ help.
Every month, hundreds of children wrote letters to The Pansy to tell of their pledges, their successes and their failures. Isabella treasured the letters, and called Pansy Society members her “blossoms.”
Even more importantly, Isabella answered all the letters! Sometimes she replied with congratulations, sometimes with encouragement and sympathy, as in this short note to Bessie from Nebraska:
Poor little blossom! It is very hard work to be unselfish, especially when so many grown people set us a bad example. Try hard, my dear.
Her “blossoms” adored her. So when an elementary school in Ravenna, Ohio planned an Arbor Day celebration in 1884, the children decided to plant a tree and name it Pansy, in honor of their favorite author.
Isabella found out about it, and a few days after the Arbor Day ceremony, she sent the school a lovely letter.
Dear Young Blossoms:
How shall Pansy thank you for the sweet thought which made you choose out her from among all the people in this full world for the honor bestowed?
Oh, I hope the tree will grow, and grow, and spread out its branches, and cast its cool, restful shadows just as far as God meant it should, and do its own pleasant work in the world.
Later in the letter, Isabella reminded the young arborists that there was another tree—the tree of life—that was even more important:
Fair young blossoms, will you grow in beauty and bloom always for Jesus? Shall we gather, all of us, some day, under the branches of the tree of life, and talk the earth-story over?
She closed the letter to the children as she always did—with an earnest invitation to one day meet her in Heaven.
I do not know that I can ever stand under the shade of the green tree that you have so kindly named for me, but I feel sure of that other one. Will you all meet me there?
Your grateful friend,
Her sweet letter to the children was printed in the local newspaper. You can read the entire letter by clicking on the image below.
Would you like to know more about the Pansy Society? Click here to read a previous post.
And you can click here to read a post about The Pansy magazine.
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