"Why, I owe at least a dozen pickled limes, and I can't pay them, you know, till I have money, for Marmee forbid my having anything charged at the shop."
"Tell me all about it. Are limes the fashion now? It used to be pricking bits of rubber to make balls;" and Meg tried to keep her countenance. Amy looked so grave and important.
"Why, you see, the girls are always buying them, and unless you want to be thought mean, you must do it, too. It's nothing but limes now, for every one is sucking them in their desks in school-time, and trading them off for pencils, bead-rings, paper dolls, or something else, at recess. If one girl likes another, she gives her a lime; if she's mad with her, she eats one before her face, and don't offer even a suck. They treat by turns; and I've had ever so many, but haven't returned them, and I ought, for they are debts of honor, you know."
"How much will pay them off, and restore your credit?" asked Meg, taking out her purse.
"A quarter would more than do it, and leave a few cents over for a treat for you. Don't you like limes?"
"Not much; you may have my share. Here's the money, — make it last as long as you can, for it isn't very plenty, you know."
"Oh, thank you! it must be so nice to have pocketmoney. I'll have a grand feast, for I haven't tasted a lime this week. I felt delicate about taking any, as I couldn't return them, and I'm actually suffering for one."
Next day Amy was rather late at school; but could not resist the temptation of displaying, with pardon-