|Back||1 2 3 4||Next|
"You'll be their real daughter, then, won't you, Clara Belle? And Mr. Fogg is a deacon, and a selectman, and a road commissioner, and everything splendid."
"Yes; I'll have board, and clothes, and school, and be named Fogg, and "(here her voice sank to an awed whisper) "the upper farm if I should ever get married; Miss Dearborn told me that herself, when she was persuading me not to mind being given away."
"Clara Belle Simpson!" exclaimed Rebecca in a transport. "Who'd have thought you'd be a female hero and an heiress besides? It's just like a book story, and it happened in Riverboro. I'll make Uncle Jerry Cobb allow there CAN be Riverboro stories, you see if I don't."
"Of course I know it's all right," Clara Belle replied soberly. "I'll have a good home and father can't keep us all; but it's kind of dreadful to be given away, like a piano or a horse and carriage!"
Rebecca's hand went out sympathetically to Clara Belle's freckled paw. Suddenly her own face clouded and she whispered:
"I'm not sure, Clara Belle, but I'm given away too--do you s'pose I am? Poor father left us in debt, you see. I thought I came away from Sunnybrook to get an education and then help pay off the mortgage; but mother doesn't say anything about my coming back, and our family's one of those too-big ones, you know, just like yours."
"Did your mother sign papers to your aunts?'
"If she did I never heard anything about it; but there's something pinned on to the mortgage that mother keeps in the drawer of the bookcase."
"You'd know it if twas adoption papers; I guess you're just lent," Clara Belle said cheeringly. "I don't believe anybody'd ever give YOU away! And, oh! Rebecca, father's getting on so well! He works on Daly's farm where they raise lots of horses and cattle, too, and he breaks all the young colts and trains them, and swaps off the poor ones, and drives all over the country. Daly told Mr. Fogg he was splendid with stock, and father says it's just like play. He's sent home money three Saturday nights."
"I'm so glad!" exclaimed Rebecca sympathetically. "Now your mother'll have a good time and a black silk dress, won't she?"
"I don't know," sighed Clara Belle, and her voice was grave. "Ever since I can remember she's just washed and cried and cried and washed. Miss Dearborn has been spending her vacation up to Acreville, you know, and she came yesterday to board next door to Mrs. Fogg's. I heard them talking last night when I was getting the baby to sleep--I couldn't help it, they were so close-- and Miss Dearborn said mother doesn't like Acreville; she says nobody takes any notice of her, and they don't give her any more work. Mrs. Fogg said, well, they were dreadful stiff and particular up that way and they liked women to have wedding rings."
"Hasn't your mother got a wedding ring?" asked Rebecca, astonished. "Why, I thought everybody HAD to have them, just as they do sofas and a kitchen stove!"
"I never noticed she didn't have one, but when they spoke I remembered mother's hands washing and wringing, and she doesn't wear one, I know. She hasn't got any jewelry, not even a breast-pin."
"Rebecca's tone was somewhat censorious, "your father's been so poor perhaps he couldn't afford breast-pins, but I should have thought he'd have given your mother a wedding ring when they were married; that's the time to do it, right at the very first."
"They didn't have any real church dress-up wedding," explained Clara Belle extenuatingly. "You see the first mother, mine, had the big boys and me, and then she died when we were little. Then after a while this mother came to housekeep, and she stayed, and by and by she was Mrs. Simpson, and Susan and the twins and the baby are hers, and she and father didn't have time for a regular wedding in church. They don't have veils and bridesmaids and refreshments round here like Miss Dearborn's sister did."
"Do they cost a great deal--wedding rings?" asked Rebecca thoughtfully. "They're solid gold, so I s'pose they do. If they were cheap we might buy one. I've got seventy-four cents saved up; how much have you?"
"Fifty-three," Clara Belle responded, in a depressing tone; "and anyway there are no stores nearer than Milltown. We'd have to buy it secretly, for I wouldn't make father angry, or shame his pride, now he's got steady work; and mother would know I had spent all my savings."
Rebecca looked nonplussed. "I declare," she said, "I think the Acreville people must be perfectly horrid not to call on your mother only because she hasn't got any jewelry. You wouldn't dare tell your father what Miss Dearborn heard, so he'd save up and buy the ring?"
"No; I certainly would not!" and Clara Belle's lips closed tightly and decisively.
Rebecca sat quietly for a few moments, then she exclaimed jubilantly: "I know where we could get it! From Mr. Aladdin, and then I needn't tell him who it's for! He's coming to stay over tomorrow with his aunt, and I'll ask him to buy a ring for us in Boston. I won't explain anything, you know; I'll just say I need a wedding ring."
"That would be perfectly lovely," replied Clara Belle, a look of hope dawning in her eyes; "and we can think afterwards how to get it over to mother. Perhaps you could send it to father instead, but I wouldn't dare to do it myself. You won't tell anybody, Rebecca?"
"Cross my heart!" Rebecca exclaimed dramatically; and then with a reproachful look, "you know I couldn't repeat a sacred secret like that! Shall we meet next Saturday afternoon, and I tell you what's happened?--Why, Clara Belle, isn't that Mr. Ladd watering his horse at the foot of the hill this very minute? It is; and he's driven up from Milltown stead of coming on the train from Boston to Edgewood. He's all alone, and I can ride home with him and ask him about the ring right away!"
Clara Belle kissed Rebecca fervently, and started on her homeward walk, while Rebecca waited at the top of the long hill, fluttering her handkerchief as a signal.
"Mr. Aladdin! Mr. Aladdin!" she cried, as the horse and wagon came nearer.
Adam Ladd drew up quickly at the sound of the eager young voice.
"Well, well; here is Rebecca Rowena fluttering along the highroad like a red-winged blackbird! Are you going to fly home, or drive with me?"
|Back||1 2 3 4||Next|
New Chronicles of Rebecca -by- Kate Douglas WigginBottom Content goes here. Wikipedia content requires these links..... Wikipedia content is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.