Page:Little Women.djvu/257

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Beth opened her lips to say something, but could only point to the pile of nicely-mended hose which lay on mother's table, showing that even in her last hurried moments she had thought and worked foi them. It was a little thing, but it went straight to their hearts ; and, in spite of their brave resolutions, they all broke down, and cried bitterly.

Hannah wisely allowed them to relieve their feel- ings ; and, when the shower showed signs of clearing up, she came to the rescue, armed with a coffee-pot.

" Now, my dear young ladies, remember what your ma said, and don't fret ; come and have a cup of coffee all round, and then let's fall to work, and be a credit to the family."

Coffee was a treat, and Hannah showed great tact in making it that morning. No one could resist her persuasive nods, or the fragrant invitation issuing from the nose of the coffee-pot. They drew up to the table, exchanged their handkerchiefs for napkins, and, in ten minutes, were all right again.

" ' Hope and keep busy ; ' that's the motto for us, so let's see who will remember it best. I shall go to Aunt March, as usual ; oh, won't she lecture, though ! " said Jo, as she sipped, with returning spirit.

" I shall go to my Kings, though I'd much rather stay at home and attend to things here," said Meg, wishing she hadn't made her eyes so red.

"No need of that; Beth and I can keep house per- fectly well," put in Amy, with an important air.

" Hannah will tell us what to do ; and we'll' have everything nice when you come home," added Beth, getting out her mop and dish-tub without delay.