Down went Jo's face into the wet handkerchief, and she cried despairingly ; for she had kept up bravely till now, and never shed a tear. Laurie drew his hand across his eyes, but could not speak till he had subdued the choky feeling in his throat, and steadied his lips. It might be unmanly, but he couldn't help it, and I am glad of it. Presently, as Jo's sobs quieted, he said, hopefully, " I don't think she will die ; she's so good, and we all love her so much, I don't believe God will take her away yet."
"The good and dear people always do die," groaned Jo, but she stopped crying, for her friend's words cheered her up, in spite of her own doubts and fears.
" Poor girl ! you're worn out. It isn't like you to be forlorn. Stop a bit ; I'll hearten you up in a jiffy."
Laurie went off two stairs at a time, and Jo laid her wearied head down on Beth's little brown hood, which no one had thought of moving from the table where she left it. It must have possessed some magic, for the submissive spirit of its gentle owner seemed to enter into Jo ; and, when Laurie came running down with a glass of wine, she took it with a smile, and said, bravely, " I drink — Health to my Beth ! You are a good doctor, Teddy, and such a comfortable friend ; how can I ever pay you ? " she added, as the wine refreshed her body, as the kind words had done her troubled mind.
"I'll send in my bill, by and by; and to-night I'll give you something that will warm the cockles of your heart better than quarts of wine," said Laurie, beam- ing at her with a face of suppressed satisfaction at something.