Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
is a 1903 classic children's novel by Kate Douglas Wiggin
. It tells the story of Rebecca Rowena Randall, a young girl who lives with her two stern aunts in the fictional village of Riverboro, Maine. Rebecca's positive outlook inspires her aunts, but she faces many trials and tribulations in her young life, giving her wisdom and understanding.
The character of Rebecca has become emblematic of any person who is relentlessly optimistic. The novel has been adapted for the stage, and has been filmed three times: first in 1917, with Mary Pickford in the title role, then in 1932 and with Shirley Temple portraying the lead in 1938.
THE old stage coach was rumbling along the dusty road that runs from Maplewood to Riverboro. The day was as warm as midsummer, though it was only the middle of May, and Mr. Jeremiah Cobb was favoring the horses as much as possible, yet never losing sight of the fact that he carried the mail. The hills were many, and the reins lay loosely in his hands as he lolled back in his seat and extended one foot and leg luxuriously over the dashboard. His brimmed hat of worn felt was well pulled over his eyes, and he revolved a quid of tobacco in his left cheek.
There was one passenger in the coach,—a small dark-haired person in a glossy buff calico dress. She was so slender and so stiffly starched that she slid from space to space on the leather cushions, though she braced herself against the middle seat with her feet and extended her cotton-gloved hands on each side, in order to maintain some sort of balance. Whenever the wheels sank farther than usual into a rut, or jolted suddenly over a stone, she bounded involuntarily into the air, came down again, pushed back her funny little straw hat, and picked up or settled more firmly a small pink sunshade, which seemed to be her chief responsibility,—unless we except a bead purse, into which she looked whenever the condition of the roads would permit, finding great apparent satisfaction in that its precious contents neither disappeared nor grew less. Mr. Cobb guessed nothing of these harassing details of travel, his business being to carry people to their destinations, not, necessarily, to make them comfortable on the way. Indeed he had forgotten the very existence of this one un-noteworthy little passenger.
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