Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm HTML version

The Vision Splendid
A year had elapsed since Adam Ladd's prize had been discussed over the teacups in
Riverboro. The months had come and gone, and at length the great day had dawned for
Rebecca,--the day to which she had been looking forward for five years, as the first goal
to be reached on her little journey through the world. School- days were ended, and the
mystic function known to the initiated as "graduation" was about to be celebrated; it was
even now heralded by the sun dawning in the eastern sky. Rebecca stole softly out of bed,
crept to the window, threw open the blinds, and welcomed the rosy light that meant a
cloudless morning. Even the sun looked different somehow,--larger, redder, more
important than usual; and if it were really so, there was no member of the graduating
class who would have thought it strange or unbecoming, in view of all the circumstances.
Emma Jane stirred on her pillow, woke, and seeing Rebecca at the window, came and
knelt on the floor beside her. "It's going to be pleasant!" she sighed gratefully. "If it
wasn't wicked, I could thank the Lord, I'm so relieved in mind! Did you sleep?"
"Not much; the words of my class poem kept running through my head, and the
accompaniments of the songs; and worse than anything, Mary Queen of Scots' prayer in
Latin; it seemed as if
"`Adoro, imploro,
Ut liberes me!'
were burned into my brain."
No one who is unfamiliar with life in rural neighborhoods can imagine the gravity, the
importance, the solemnity of this last day of school. In the matter of preparation, wealth
of detail, and general excitement it far surpasses a wedding; for that is commonly a
simple affair in the country, sometimes even beginning and ending in a visit to the
parsonage. Nothing quite equals graduation in the minds of the graduates themselves,
their families, and the younger students, unless it be the inauguration of a governor at the
State Capitol. Wareham, then, was shaken to its very centre on this day of days. Mothers
and fathers of the scholars, as well as relatives to the remotest generation, had been
coming on the train and driving into the town since breakfast time; old pupils, both
married and single, with and without families, streamed back to the dear old village. The
two livery stables were crowded with vehicles of all sorts, and lines of buggies and
wagons were drawn up along the sides of the shady roads, the horses switching their tails
in luxurious idleness. The streets were filled with people wearing their best clothes, and
the fashions included not only "the latest thing," but the well preserved relic of a bygone
day. There were all sorts and conditions of men and women, for there were sons and
daughters of storekeepers, lawyers, butchers, doctors, shoemakers, professors, ministers,
and farmers at the Wareham schools, either as boarders or day scholars. In the seminary
building there was an excitement so deep and profound that it expressed itself in a kind of
hushed silence, a transient suspension of life, as those most interested approached the
crucial moment. The feminine graduates-to-be were seated in their own bedrooms,