Kate Douglas Wiggin: Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm


"Both my aunts had bad colds," she said softly, "and sent me to represent the family."

"That's Mrs. Burch on the platform with her husband," whispered Mrs. Robinson. "She's awful tanned up, ain't she? If you're goin' to save souls seems like you hev' to part with your complexion. Eudoxy Morton ain't come yet; I hope to the land she will, or Mis' Deacon Milliken'll pitch the tunes where we can't reach 'em with a ladder; can't you pitch, afore she gits her breath and clears her throat?"

Mrs. Burch was a slim, frail little woman with dark hair, a broad low forehead, and patient mouth. She was dressed in a well-worn black silk, and looked so tired that Rebecca's heart went out to her.

"They're poor as Job's turkey," whispered Mrs. Robinson; "but if you give 'em anything they'd turn right round and give it to the heathen. His congregation up to Parsonsfield clubbed together and give him that gold watch he carries; I s'pose he'd 'a' handed that over too, only heathens always tell time by the sun 'n' don't need watches. Eudoxy ain't comin'; now for massy's sake, Rebecca, do git ahead of Mis' Deacon Milliken and pitch real low."

The meeting began with prayer and then the Rev. Mr. Burch announced, to the tune of Mendon:--

"Church of our God I arise and shine,
Bright with the beams of truth divine:
Then shall thy radiance stream afar,
Wide as the heathen nations are.
"Gentiles and kings thy light shall view,
And shall admire and love thee too;
They come, like clouds across the sky,
As doves that to their windows fly."

"Is there any one present who will assist us at the instrument?" he asked unexpectedly.

Everybody looked at everybody else, and nobody moved; then there came a voice out of a far corner saying informally, "Rebecca, why don't you?" It was Mrs. Cobb. Rebecca could have played Mendon in the dark, so she went to the melodeon and did so without any ado, no member of her family being present to give her self-consciousness.

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