"I'm not sorry," protested Jo, with a choke. "I'd do it again to-morrow, if I could. It's only the vain, selfish part of me that goes and cries in this silly way. Don't tell any one, it's all over now. I thought you were asleep, so I just made a little private moan for -. my one beauty. How came you to be awake ? "
" I can't sleep, I'm so anxious," said Meg.
" Think about something pleasant, and you'll soon drop off."
" I tried it, but felt wider awake than ever."
"What did you think of? "
" Handsome faces ; eyes particularly," answered Meg smilingly, to herself, in the dark.
"What color do you like best?"
" Brown — that is sometimes — blue are lovely."
Jo laughed, and Meg sharply ordered her not to talk, then amiably promised to make her hair curl, and fell asleep to dream of living in her castle in the air.
The clocks were striking midnight, and the rooms were very still, as a figure glided quietly from bed to bed, smoothing a coverlid here, setting a pillow there, and pausing to look long and tenderly at each un- conscious face, to kiss each with lips that mutely blessed, and to pray the fervent prayers which only mothers utter. As she lifted the cui tain to look out into the dreary night, the moon broke suddenly from behind the clouds, and shone upon her like a bright benignant face, which seemed to whisper in the silence, " Be comforted, dear heart ! there is always light behind the clouds."