Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm HTML version

The Hill Difficulty
The first happy year at Wareham, with its widened sky-line, its larger vision, its greater
opportunity, was over and gone. Rebecca had studied during the summer vacation, and
had passed, on her return in the autumn, certain examinations which would enable her, if
she carried out the same programme the next season, to complete the course in three
instead of four years. She came off with no flying colors,--that would have been
impossible in consideration of her inadequate training; but she did wonderfully well in
some of the required subjects, and so brilliantly in others that the average was
respectable. She would never have been a remarkable scholar under any circumstances,
perhaps, and she was easily out- stripped in mathematics and the natural sciences by a
dozen girls, but in some inexplicable way she became, as the months went on, the
foremost figure in the school. When she had entirely forgotten the facts which would
enable her to answer a question fully and conclusively, she commonly had some original
theory to expound; it was not always correct, but it was generally unique and sometimes
amusing. She was only fair in Latin or French grammar, but when it came to translation,
her freedom, her choice of words, and her sympathetic understanding of the spirit of the
text made her the delight of her teachers and the despair of her rivals.
"She can be perfectly ignorant of a subject,' said Miss Maxwell to Adam Ladd, "but
entirely intelligent the moment she has a clue. Most of the other girls are full of
information and as stupid as sheep."
Rebecca's gifts had not been discovered save by the few, during the first year, when she
was adjusting herself quietly to the situation. She was distinctly one of the poorer girls;
she had no fine dresses to attract attention, no visitors, no friends in the town. She had
more study hours, and less time, therefore, for the companionship of other girls, gladly as
she would have welcomed the gayety of that side of school life. Still, water will find its
own level in some way, and by the spring of the second year she had naturally settled into
the same sort of leadership which had been hers in the smaller community of Riverboro.
She was unanimously elected assistant editor of the Wareham School Pilot, being the first
girl to assume that enviable, though somewhat arduous and thankless position, and when
her maiden number went to the Cobbs, uncle Jerry and aunt Sarah could hardly eat or
sleep for pride.
"She'll always get votes," said Huldah Meserve, when discussing the election, "for
whether she knows anything or not, she looks as if she did, and whether she's capable of
filling an office or not, she looks as if she was. I only wish I was tall and dark and had the
gift of making people believe I was great things, like Rebecca Randall. There's one thing:
though the boys call her handsome, you notice they don't trouble her with much
It was a fact that Rebecca's attitude towards the opposite sex was still somewhat
indifferent and oblivious, even for fifteen and a half! No one could look at her and doubt
that she had potentialities of attraction latent within her somewhere, but that side of her