Kate Douglas Wiggin: Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm

12. XII. "SEE THE PALE MARTYR" (continued)

When supper was cleared away Rebecca insisted on washing and wiping the dishes, while Mrs. Cobb worked on the dress with an energy that plainly showed the gravity of the task. Rebecca kept leaving her post at the sink to bend anxiously over the basin and watch her progress, while uncle Jerry offered advice from time to time.

"You must 'a' laid all over the breedge, deary," said Mrs. Cobb; "for the paint 's not only on your elbows and yoke and waist, but it about covers your front breadth."

As the garment began to look a little better Rebecca's spirits took an upward turn, and at length she left it to dry in the fresh air, and went into the sitting-room.

"Have you a piece of paper, please?" asked Rebecca. "I'll copy out the poetry I was making while I was lying in the paint."

Mrs. Cobb sat by her mending basket, and uncle Jerry took down a gingham bag of strings and occupied himself in taking the snarls out of them,--a favorite evening amusement with him.

Rebecca soon had the lines copied in her round schoolgirl hand, making such improvements as occurred to her on sober second thought.

Two maidens by a river strayed,
     'T was in the state of Maine.
Rebecca was the darker one,
     The fairer, Emma Jane.
The fairer maiden said, "I would
     My life were as the stream;
So peaceful, and so smooth and still,
     So pleasant and serene."

"I'd rather be a little drop
     In the great rushing fall;
I'd never choose the quiet lake;
     'T would not please me at all."
(It was the darker maiden spoke
     The words we just have stated;
The maidens twain were simply friends,
     Not sisters, or related.)

But O! alas! we may not have
     The things we hope to gain.
The quiet life may come to me,
     The rush to Emma Jane!

She read it aloud, and the Cobbs thought it not only surpassingly beautiful, but a marvelous production

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