Page:Little Women.djvu/331

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319
Pleasant Meadows.

Beth's smiling face, and her hand caressed the brooch made of gray and golden, chestnut and dark brown hair, which the girls had just fastened on her breast.

Now and then, in this work-a-day world, things do happen in the delightful story-book fashion, and what a comfort that is. Half an hour after every one had said they were so happy they could only hold one drop more, the drop came. Laurie opened the parlor door, and popped his head in very quietly. He might just as well have turned a somersault, and uttered an Indian war-whoop ; for his face was so full of suppressed excitement, and his voice so treach- erously joyful, that every one jumped up, though he only said, in a queer, breathless voice, "Here's another Christmas present for the March family."

Before the words were well out of his mouth, he was whisked away somehow, and in his place ap- peared a tall man, muffled up to the eyes, leaning on the arm of another tall man, who tried to say some- thing and couldn't. Of course there was a general stampede ; and for several minutes everybody seemed to lose their wits, for the strangest things were done, and no one said a word. Mr. March became invisible in the embrace of four pairs of loving arms ; Jo disgraced herself by nearly fainting away, and had to be doctored by Laurie in the china closet ; Mr. Brooke kissed Meg- entirely by mistake, as he somewhat incoherently explained ; and Amy, the dignified, tumbled over a stool, and, never stopping to get up, hugged and cried over her father's boots in the .most touching manner. Mrs. March was the first to recover herself, and held