Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Deacon Israel's Successor
It was a very small meeting, aunt Miranda," began Rebecca, "and the missionary and his
wife are lovely people, and they are coming here to stay all night and to-morrow with
you. I hope you won't mind."
"Coming here!" exclaimed Miranda, letting her knitting fall in her lap, and taking her
spectacles off, as she always did in moments of extreme excitement. "Did they invite
"No," Rebecca answered. "I had to invite them for you; but I thought you'd like to have
such interesting company. It was this way"--
"Stop your explainin', and tell me first when they'll be here. Right away?"
"No, not for two hours--about half past five."
"Then you can explain, if you can, who gave you any authority to invite a passel of
strangers to stop here over night, when you know we ain't had any company for twenty
years, and don't intend to have any for another twenty,--or at any rate while I'm the head
of the house."
"Don't blame her, Miranda, till you've heard her story," said Jane. "It was in my mind
right along, if we went to the meeting, some such thing might happen, on account of Mr.
Burch knowing father."
"The meeting was a small one," began Rebecca "I gave all your messages, and everybody
was disappointed you couldn't come, for the president wasn't there, and Mrs. Matthews
took the chair, which was a pity, for the seat wasn't nearly big enough for her, and she
reminded me of a line in a hymn we sang, `Wide as the heathen nations are,' and she
wore that kind of a beaver garden-hat that always gets on one side. And Mr. Burch talked
beautifully about the Syrian heathen, and the singing went real well, and there looked to
be about forty cents in the basket that was passed on our side. And that wouldn't save
even a heathen baby, would it? Then Mr. Burch said, if any sister would offer
entertainment, they would pass the night, and have a parlor meeting in Riverboro to-
morrow, with Mrs. Burch in Syrian costume, and lovely foreign things to show. Then he
waited and waited, and nobody said a word. I was so mortified I didn't know what to do.
And then he repeated what he said, an explained why he wanted to stay, and you could
see he thought it was his duty. Just then Mrs. Robinson whispered to me and said the
missionaries always used to go to the brick house when grandfather was alive, and that he
never would let them sleep anywhere else. I didn't know you had stopped having them.
because no traveling ministers have been here, except just for a Sunday morning, since I
came to Riverboro. So I thought I ought to invite them, as you weren't there to do it for
yourself, and you told me to represent the family."