`Don't peck at one another, children. Don't you wish we had the money papa lost when we were little, Jo? Dear me! how happy and good we'd be, if we had no worries!' said Meg, who could remember better times.

`You said, the other day, you thought we were a deal happier than the King children, for they were fighting and fretting all the time, in spite of their money.'

`So I did, Beth. Well, I think we are; for, though we do have to work, we make fun for ourselves, and are a pretty jolly set, as Jo would say.'

`Jo does use such slang words!' observed Amy, with a reproving look at the long figure stretched on the rug. Jo immediately sat up, put her hands in her pockets, and began to whistle.

`Don't, Jo; it's so boyish!'

`That's why I do it.'

`I detest rude, unlady-like girls!'

`I hate affected, niminy-piminy chits!'

`Birds in their little nests agree' sang Beth, the peace maker, with such a funny face that both sharp voice softened to a laugh, and the `pecking' ended for that time.

`Really, girls, you are both to be blamed,' said Meg, beginning to lecture in her elder-sisterly fashion. `You are old enough to leave off boyish tricks, and to behave better Josephine. It didn't matter so much when you were a little girl; but now you are so tall, and turn up your hair, you should remember that you are a young lady.'

`I'm not! and if turning up my hair mikes me one, I'll wear it in two tails till I'm twenty.' cried Jo, pulling off he net, and shaking down her chestnut mane. `I hate to think I've got to grow up, and he Miss March and wear long gowns, and look as prim as a China-aster! It's bad enough to be a girl, anyway, when I like boys' games and work an manners! I can't get over my disappointment in not being boy; and it's worse than ever now, for I'm dying to go and fight with papa, and I can only stay at home and knit, like a poky old woman!' And Jo shook the blue army sock till the needles rattled like castanets, and her ball bounded across the room.

`Poor Jo! It's too had, hut It can't he helped; so you must try to be contented with making your name boyish, and playing brother to us girls,' said Beth, stroking the rough head at her knee with a hand that all the dish-washing and dusting in the world could not make ungentle in it touch.

`As for you, Amy,' continued Meg, `you are altogether too particular and prim. Your airs are funny now; but you'll grow up an affected little goose, if you don't take care.

`I like your nice manners and refined ways of speaking when you don't try to he elegant; but your absurd words are as bad as Jo's slang.'

`If Jo is a tomboy and Amy a goose, what am I, please?' asked Beth, ready to share the lecture.

`You're a dear, and nothing else,' answered Meg, warmly; and no one contradicted her, for the `Mouse' was the pet of the family.

As young readers like to know `how people look', we will take this moment to give them a little sketch of the four sisters, who sat knitting away in the twilight, while the December snow fell quietly without, and the fire crackled cheerfully within. It was a comfortable old room, though the carpet was faded and the

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