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Sixth Chronicle : The State O' Maine Girl
The foregoing episode, if narrated in a romance, would undoubtedly have been called
"The Saving of the Colors," but at the nightly conversazione in Watson's store it was
alluded to as the way little Becky Randall got the flag away from Slippery Simpson.
Dramatic as it was, it passed into the limbo of half-forgotten things in Rebecca's mind, its
brief importance submerged in the glories of the next day.
There was a painful prelude to these glories. Alice Robinson came to spend the night with
Rebecca, and when the bedroom door closed upon the two girls, Alice announced here
intention of "doing up" Rebecca's front hair in leads and rags, and braiding the back in six
tight, wetted braids.
Rebecca demurred. Alice persisted.
"Your hair is so long and thick and dark and straight," she said, "that you'll look like an
"I am the State of Maine; it all belonged to the Indians once," Rebecca remarked
gloomily, for she was curiously shy about discussing her personal appearance.
"And your wreath of little pine-cones won't set decent without crimps," continued Alice.
Rebecca glanced in the cracked looking-glass and met what she considered an accusing
lack of beauty, a sight that always either saddened or enraged her according to
circumstances; then she sat down resignedly and began to help Alice in the philanthropic
work of making the State of Maine fit to be seen at the raising.
Neither of the girls was an expert hairdresser, and at the end of an hour, when the sixth
braid was tied, and Rebecca had given one last shuddering look in the mirror, both were
ready to weep with fatigue.
The candle was blown out and Alice soon went to sleep, but Rebecca tossed on her
pillow, its goose-feathered softness all dented by the cruel lead knobs and the knots of
twisted rags. She slipped out of bed and walked to and fro, holding her aching head with
both hands. Finally she leaned on the window-sill, watching the still weather-vane on
Alice's barn and breathing in the fragrance of the ripening apples, until her restlessness
subsided under the clear starry beauty of the night.
At six in the morning the girls were out of bed, for Alice could hardly wait until
Rebecca's hair was taken down, she was so eager to see the result of her labors.