Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm HTML version

Color Of Rose
On the very next Friday after this "dreadfullest fight that ever was seen," as Bunyan says
in Pilgrim's Progress, there were great doings in the little schoolhouse on the hill. Friday
afternoon was always the time chosen for dialogues, songs, and recitations, but it cannot
be stated that it was a gala day in any true sense of the word. Most of the children hated
"speaking pieces;" hated the burden of learning them, dreaded the danger of breaking
down in them. Miss Dearborn commonly went home with a headache, and never left her
bed during the rest of the afternoon or evening; and the casual female parent who
attended the exercises sat on a front bench with beads of cold sweat on her forehead,
listening to the all-too-familiar halts and stammers. Sometimes a bellowing infant who
had clean forgotten his verse would cast himself bodily on the maternal bosom and be
borne out into the open air, where he was sometimes kissed and occasionally spanked;
but in any case the failure added an extra dash of gloom and dread to the occasion. The
advent of Rebecca had somehow infused a new spirit into these hitherto terrible
afternoons. She had taught Elijah and Elisha Simpson so that they recited three verses of
something with such comical effect that they delighted themselves, the teacher, and the
school; while Susan, who lisped, had been provided with a humorous poem in which she
impersonated a lisping child. Emma Jane and Rebecca had a dialogue, and the sense of
companionship buoyed up Emma Jane and gave her self- reliance. In fact, Miss Dearborn
announced on this particular Friday morning that the exercises promised to be so
interesting that she had invited the doctor's wife, the minister's wife, two members of the
school committee, and a few mothers. Living Perkins was asked to decorate one of the
black- boards and Rebecca the other. Living, who was the star artist of the school, chose
the map of North America. Rebecca liked better to draw things less realistic, and
speedily, before the eyes of the enchanted multitude, there grew under her skillful fingers
an American flag done in red, white, and blue chalk, every star in its right place, every
stripe fluttering in the breeze. Beside this appeared a figure of Columbia, copied from the
top of the cigar box that held the crayons.
Miss Dearborn was delighted. "I propose we give Rebecca a good hand-clapping for such
a beautiful picture--one that the whole school may well be proud of!"
The scholars clapped heartily, and Dick Carter, waving his hand, gave a rousing cheer.
Rebecca's heart leaped for joy, and to her confusion she felt the tears rising in her eyes.
She could hardly see the way back to her seat, for in her ignorant lonely little life she had
never been singled out for applause, never lauded, nor crowned, as in this wonderful,
dazzling moment. If "nobleness enkindleth nobleness," so does enthusiasm beget
enthusiasm, and so do wit and talent enkindle wit and talent. Alice Robinson proposed
that the school should sing Three Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue! and when they
came to the chorus, all point to Rebecca's flag. Dick Carter suggested that Living Perkins
and Rebecca Randall should sign their names to their pictures, so that the visitors would
know who drew them. Huldah Meserve asked permission to cover the largest holes in the
plastered walls with boughs and fill the water pail with wild flowers. Rebecca's mood