Page:Little Women.djvu/226

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Little Women.

Ashamed of his momentary pique, Laurie squeezed the kind little hand, and said, frankly, "I'm the one to be forgiven ; I'm cross, and have been out of sorts all day. I like to have you tell me my faults, and be sisterly ; so don't mind if I am grumpy sometimes ; I thank you all the same."

Bent on showing that he was not offended, he made himself as agreeable as possible ; wound cotton for Meg, recited poetry to please Jo, shook down cones for Beth, and helped Amy with her ferns, — proving himself a fit person to belong to the "Busy Bee Soci- ety." In the midst of an animated discussion on the domestic habits of turtles (one of which amiable crea- tures having strolled up from the river), the faint sound of a bell warned them that Hannah had put the tea " to draw," and they would just have time to get home to supper.

" May I come again?" asked Laurie.

"Yes, if you are good, and love your book, as the boys in the primer are told to do," said Meg, smiling.

"I'll try."

" Then you may come, and I'll teach you to knit as the Scotch-men do ; there's a demand for socks just now," added Jo, waving hers, like a big blue worsted banner, as they parted at the gate.

That night, when Beth played to Mr. Laurence in the twilight, Laurie, standing in the shadow of the curtain, listened to the little David, whose simple music always quieted his moody spirit, and watched the old man, who sat with his gray head on his hand, thinking tender thoughts of the dead child he had loved so much. Remembering the conversation of