A Gentle Heart
As the morning frost rises from the valley floor, Lee Coulter, assisted by a cane on one side and Rosemary on the other, limps back into his office at the mill. After making it to his desk, Lee is finally able to convince Rosemary to take a break from her nursemaid duties and allow him to do some work. Just then Wade, the new foreman, enters with terrible news. The recent spate of accidents has cost the mill yet another contract, the second in three days. To make matters worse, the repairs from the accidents are still underway and the backlog is growing.
At the schoolhouse, Elizabeth enters alongside her newest student, Hattie Ferguson. Like Elizabeth, Hattie and her family are from Hamilton. But unlike Elizabeth, Hattie has an instant and obvious distaste for Hope Valley. When Elizabeth tells her to take her seat next to Anna, Hattie glares at the girl before telling Elizabeth, “I don’t want to sit next to her.” Anna tries to be friendly and compliments Hattie on her dress. Hattie sourly responds, “Just because I'm sitting here doesn't mean we're friends.” Hattie’s attitude infects the other the children, all of whom begin acting out. Reaching her wit’s end with the rudeness, Elizabeth cancels recess and declares that this week will be Kindness Week. Each student will have to do a daily act of kindness for someone they normally wouldn’t. Elizabeth instructs them that the goal of this assignment is to remind them that they are a community and it’s time to start acting like it.
Across town at the café, Abigail is inside preparing a basket of food while Bill is out front chatting with Dottie Ramsey. This week is Dottie’s birthday and, with a little encouragement from Florence, Dottie has agreed to a celebratory dinner with Bill. Back inside Frank Hogan arrives to pick up the food Abigail is boxing up. Frank is doing his best to gather any available supplies to aid a small group of settlers living in the valley. Their plight reminds Abigail of the trials she endured when first moving to the frontier. Looking back on those memories inspires Abigail to take the afternoon off and help Frank deliver the food to the settlers.