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Summary Having a love of music, Katie decides to give her children piano lessons; she hires one of the Tynmore sisters, who charges twenty- five cents per lesson. Since Katie cannot afford this amount, she makes a bargain with Miss Tynmore. She will do one hour of cleaning for her each week in exchange for a piano lesson for the children.
On the first day, Miss Tynmore arrives at five, sets her clock for six and begins her lessons. Francie is so captivated by the clicking of the clock that she cannot pay attention; Neeley is so bored he actually falls asleep. Katie, however, listens intently to everything said and played. Miss Tynmore realizes that Katie wishes to learn to play the piano too and includes her in the lesson for no extra charge, settling for a cup of coffee at the end of the session. In time, all three learn to play the piano.
Johnny, who also loves music, tries to arrange singing lessons for Francie. He offers to repair a broken sash in a window in exchange for the lessons. The deal, however, falls through when Johnny breaks the window frame.
In spite of their poverty, Katie wants her children to have some advantages in life. Now that they have a piano, she is determined for the children to take lessons. Since she cannot afford to pay for them, she strikes a bargain with the teacher, Miss Tynmore. Katie will clean for her one hour per week if she will give the children a one-hour piano lesson. When Miss Tynmore offers to let Katie sit in on the lessons and learn to play as well, Katie rewards her after the lesson by giving her a cup of coffee and a treat, usually a bun or bologna sandwich.
Not to be outdone in the musical area by his wife, Johnny tries to arrange singing lessons for Francie. He bargains to repair a window in payment for the lessons. Unfortunately, he breaks the window rather than repairing it; therefore, Francie does not get her singing lessons.