Page:Little Women.djvu/268

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256
Little Women.

laughing, but looking a little ashamed of her in- consistency.

" Why don't you go yourself? " asked Meg.

" I have been every day, but the baby is sick, and I don't know what to do for it. Mrs. Hummel goes away to work, and Lottchen takes care of it ; but it gets sicker and sicker, and I think you or Hannah ought to go."

Beth spoke earnestly, and Meg promised she would go to-morrow.

"Ask Hannah for some nice little mess, and take it round, Beth, the air will do you good ; " said Jo, adding apologetically, " I'd go, but I want to finish my story."

"My head aches, and I'm tired, so I thought maybe some of you would go," said Beth.

" Amy will be in presently, and she will run down for us," suggested Meg.

" Well, I'll rest a little, and wait for her."

So Beth lay down on the sofa, the others returned to their work, and the Hummels were forgotten. An hour passed, Amy did not come; Meg went to her room to try on a new dress; Jo was absorbed in her story, and Hannah was sound asleep before the kitchen fire, when Beth quietly put on her hood, filled her basket with odds and ends for the poor children, and went out into the chilly air with a heavy head, and a grieved look in her patient eyes. It was late when she came back, and no one saw her creep upstairs and shut herself into her mother's room. Half an hour after Jo went to " mother's closet " for something, and there found Beth sitting on the medicine chest, looking