Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Th' Inevitable Yoke
Rebecca's heart beat high at this sweet praise from her hero's lips, but before she had
found words to thank him, Mr. and Mrs. Cobb, who had been modestly biding their time
in a corner, approached her and she introduced them to Mr. Ladd.
"Where, where is aunt Jane?" she cried, holding aunt Sarah's hand on one side and uncle
Jerry's on the other.
"I'm sorry, lovey, but we've got bad news for you."
"Is aunt Miranda worse? She is; I can see it by your looks;" and Rebecca's color faded.
"She had a second stroke yesterday morning jest when she was helpin' Jane lay out her
things to come here to-day. Jane said you wan't to know anything about it till the
exercises was all over, and we promised to keep it secret till then."
"I will go right home with you, aunt Sarah. I must just run to tell Miss Maxwell, for after
I had packed up to-morrow I was going to Brunswick with her. Poor aunt Miranda! And I
have been so gay and happy all day, except that I was longing for mother and aunt Jane."
"There ain't no harm in bein' gay, lovey; that's what Jane wanted you to be. And
Miranda's got her speech back, for your aunt has just sent a letter sayin' she's better; and
I'm goin' to set up to-night, so you can stay here and have a good sleep, and get your
things together comfortably to-morrow."
"I'll pack your trunk for you, Becky dear, and attend to all our room things," said Emma
Jane, who had come towards the group and heard the sorrowful news from the brick
They moved into one of the quiet side pews, where Hannah and her husband and John
joined them. From time to time some straggling acquaintance or old schoolmate would
come up to congratulate Rebecca and ask why she had hidden herself in a corner. Then
some member of the class would call to her excitedly, reminding her not to be late at the
picnic luncheon, or begging her to be early at the class party in the evening. All this had
an air of unreality to Rebecca. In the midst of the happy excitement of the last two days,
when "blushing honors" had been falling thick upon her, and behind the delicious
exaltation of the morning, had been the feeling that the condition was a transient one, and
that the burden, the struggle, the anxiety, would soon loom again on the horizon. She
longed to steal away into the woods with dear old John, grown so manly and handsome,
and get some comfort from him.
Meantime Adam Ladd and Mr. Cobb had been having an animated conversation.