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20. XX. A CHANGE OF HEART
That niece of yours is the most remarkable girl I have seen in years," said Mr. Burch when the door closed.
"She seems to be turnin' out smart enough lately, but she's consid'able heedless," answered Miranda, "an' most too lively."
"We must remember that it is deficient, not excessive vitality, that makes the greatest trouble in this world," returned Mr. Burch.
"She'd make a wonderful missionary," said Mrs. Burch; "with her voice, and her magnetism, and her gift of language."
"If I was to say which of the two she was best adapted for, I'd say she'd make a better heathen," remarked Miranda curtly.
"My sister don't believe in flattering children," hastily interpolated Jane, glancing toward Mrs. Burch, who seemed somewhat shocked, and was about to open her lips to ask if Rebecca was not a "professor."
Mrs. Cobb had been looking for this question all the evening and dreading some allusion to her favorite as gifted in prayer. She had taken an instantaneous and illogical dislike to the Rev. Mr. Burch in the afternoon because he called upon Rebecca to "lead." She had seen the pallor creep into the girl's face, the hunted look in her eyes, and the trembling of the lashes on her cheeks, and realized the ordeal through which she was passing. Her prejudice against the minister had relaxed under his genial talk and presence, but feeling that Mrs. Burch was about to tread on dangerous ground, she hastily asked her if one had to change cars many times going from Riverboro to Syria. She felt that it was not a particularly appropriate question, but it served her turn.
Deacon Milliken, meantime, said to Miss Sawyer, "Mirandy, do you know who Rebecky reminds me of?"
"I can guess pretty well," she replied.
"Then you've noticed it too! I thought at first, seein' she favored her father so on the outside, that she was the same all through; but she ain't, she's like your father, Israel Sawyer."
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