Meg Goes To Vanity Fair
`I do think it was the most fortunate thing in the world that those children should have the measles just now,' said Meg, one April day, as she stood packing the "go abroady" trunk in her room, surrounded by her sisters.
`And so nice of Annie Moffat not to forget her promise. A whole fortnight of fun will be regularly splendid,' replied Jo, looking like a windmill, as she folded skirts, with her long arms.
`And such lovely weather; I'm so glad of that,' added Beth, tidily sorting neck and hair ribbons in her best box, lent for the great occasion.
`I wish I was going to have a fine time, and wear all these nice things,' said Amy, with her mouth full of pins, as she artistically replenished her sister's cushion.
`I wish you were all going; but as you can't, I shall keep my adventures to tell you when I come back. I'm sure it's the least I can do, when you have been so kind, lending me things, and helping me get ready,' said Meg, glancing round the room at the very simple outfit, which seemed nearly perfect in their eyes.
`What did Mother give you out of the treasure-box?' asked Amy, who had not been present at the opening of a certain cedar chest, in which Mrs. March kept a few relics of past splendour as gifts for her girls when the proper time came.
`A pair of silk stockings, that pretty carved fan, and a lovely blue sash. I wanted the violet silk; but there isn't time to make it over, so I must be contented with my old tarlatan.'
`It will look nicely over my new muslin skirt, and the sash will set it off beautifully. I wish I hadn't smashed my coral bracelet, for you might have had it,' said Jo, who loved to give and lend, but whose possessions were usually too dilapidated to be of much use. `There is a lovely old-fashioned pearl set in the treasure- box; but Mother said real flowers were the prettiest ornament for a young girl, and Laurie promised to send me all I want,' replied Meg. `Now, let me see; there's my new grey walking-suit - just curl up the feather in my hat, Beth - then my poplin, for Sunday, and the small party - it looks heavy for spring, doesn't it? The violet silk would be so nice; oh dear.'
`Never mind; you've got the tarlatan for the big party, and you always look like an angel in white,' said Amy, brooding over the little store of finery in which her soul delighted.
`It isn't low-necked, and it doesn't sweep enough, but it will have to do. My blue house-dress looks so well, turned and freshly trimmed, that I feel as if I'd got a new one. My silk sacque isn't a bit the fashion, and my bonnet doesn't look like Sallie's; I didn't like to say anything, but I was sadly disappointed in my umbrella. I told Mother black, with a white handle, but she forgot and bought a green one, with a yellowish handle. It's strong and neat, so I ought not to complain, but I know I shall feel ashamed of it beside Annie's silk one with a gold top,' sighed Meg, surveying the little umbrella with great disfavour.
`Change it,' advised Jo.
`I won't be so silly, or hurt Marmee's feelings, when she took so much pains to get my things. It's a nonsensical notion of mine, and I'm not going to give up to it. My silk stockings and two pairs of new gloves are my comfort. You are a dear, to lend me yours, Jo. I feel so rich, and sort of elegant, with two new pairs, and the old ones cleaned up for common'; and Meg took a refreshing peep at her glove box.
`Annie Moffat has blue and pink bows on her night-caps; would you put some on mine?' she asked, as Beth brought up a pile of snowy muslins, fresh from Hannah's hands.
`No, I wouldn't; for the smart caps won't match the plain gowns, without any trimming on them. Poor folks shouldn't rig,' said Jo, decidedly.
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