New Chronicles of Rebecca
Eleventh Chronicle : Abijah The Brave And The Fair
"A warrior so bold and a maiden so bright
Conversed as they sat on the green.
They gazed at each other in tender delight.
Alonzo the brave was the name of the knight,
And the maid was the fair Imogene.
"Alas!' said the youth, 'since tomorrow I go
To fight in a far distant land,
Your tears for my absence soon ceasing to flow,
Some other will court you, and you will bestow
On a wealthier suitor your hand.'
'Oh, hush these suspicions!' Fair Imogene said,
"So hurtful to love and to me!
For if you be living, or if you be dead,
I swear by the Virgin that none in your stead
Shall the husband of Imogene be!'
Ever since she was eight years old Rebecca had wished to be eighteen, but now that she
was within a month of that awe-inspiring and long-desired age she wondered if, after all,
it was destined to be a turning point in her quiet existence. Her eleventh year, for
instance, had been a real turning-point, since it was then that she had left Sunnybrook
Farm and come to her maiden aunts in Riverboro. Aurelia Randall may have been
doubtful as to the effect upon her spinster sisters of the irrepressible child, but she was
hopeful from the first that the larger opportunities of Riverboro would be the "making" of
The next turning-point was her fourteenth year, when she left the district school for the
Wareham Female Seminary, then in the hey-day of its local fame. Graduation (next to
marriage, perhaps, the most thrilling episode in the life of a little country girl) happened
at seventeen, and not long afterward her Aunt Miranda's death, sudden and unexpected,
changed not only all the outward activities and conditions of her life, but played its own
part in her development.
The brick house looked very homelike and pleasant on a June morning nowadays with
children's faces smiling at the windows and youthful footsteps sounding through the
halls; and the brass knocker on the red-painted front door might have remembered
Rebecca's prayer of a year before, when she leaned against its sun-warmed brightness and
whispered: "God bless Aunt Miranda; God bless the brick house that was; God bless the
brick house that's going to be!"