tenderly as if it had been her own. The girls, meantime, spread the table, set the children round the fire, and fed them like so many hungry birds - laughing, talking, and trying to understand the funny broken English.

`Das ist gut!'

`Die Engelkinder!' cried the poor things, as they ate, and warmed their purple hands at the comfortable blaze.

The girls had never been called angel children before and thought it very agreeable, especially Jo, who had been considered a `Sancho' ever since she was born. That was a very happy breakfast, though they didn't get any of it; and when they went away, leaving comfort behind, I think they were not in all the city four merrier people than the hungry little girls who gave away their breakfasts and contented themselves with bread and milk on Christmas morning.

`That's loving our neighbour better than ourselves, and I like it,' said Meg, as they set out their presents, while their mother was upstairs collecting clothes for the poor Hummels.

Not a very splendid show, but there was a great deal of love done up in the few little bundles; and the tall vase red roses, white chrysanthemums, and trailing vines, which stood in the middle, gave quite an elegant air to the table.

`She's coming! Strike up, Beth! Open the door, Amy! Three cheers for Marmee!' cried Jo, prancing about, while Meg went to conduct Mother to the seat of honour.

Beth played her gayest march, Amy threw open the door and Meg enacted escort with great dignity. Mrs. March was both surprised and touched; and smiled with her eyes full a she examined her presents, and read the little notes which accompanied them. The slippers went on at once, a new handkerchief was slipped into her pocket, well scented with Amy's cologne, the rose was fastened in her bosom, and the nice gloves were pronounced a `perfect fit'.

There was a good deal of laughing and kissing and explaining, in the simple, loving fashion which makes these home festivals so pleasant at the time, so sweet to remember long afterwards, and then all fell to work.

The morning charities and ceremonies took so much time that the rest of the day was devoted to preparations for the evening festivities.

Not rich enough to afford any great outlay for private performances, the girls put their wits to work, and necessity - being the mother of invention - made whatever they needed. Very clever were some of their productions - paste board guitars, antique lamps made of old-fashioned butter boats covered with silver paper, gorgeous robes of old cotton glittering with tin spangle from a pickle factory, and armour covered with the same useful diamond-shaped bits, left ii the sheets when the lids of tin preserve-pots were cut out. The furniture was used to being turned topsy-turvy, and the big chamber was the scene of many innocent revels.

No gentlemen were admitted; so Jo played male parts to her heart's content, and took immense satisfaction in a pair of russet-leather boots given her by a friend. These boots, an old foil, and a slashed doublet once used by an artist for some picture, were Jo's chief treasures, and appeared on all occasions. The smallness of the company made it necessary for the two principal actors to take several parts apiece; ant they certainly deserved some credit for the hard work the did in learning three or four different parts, whisking in ant out of various costumes, and managing the stage besides. It was excellent drill for their memories, a harmless amusement, and employed many hours which otherwise would have been idle, lonely, or spent in less profitable society.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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