`Poor girls don't stand any chance, Belle says, unless they put themselves forward,' sighed Meg.

`Then we'll be old maids,' said Jo, stoutly.

`Right, Jo; better be happy old maids than unhappy wives or unmaidenly girls, running about to find husbands,' said Mrs. March, decidedly. `Don't be troubled, Meg; poverty seldom daunts a sincere lover. Some of the best and most honoured women I know were poor girls, but so love-worthy that they were not allowed to be old maids. Leave these things to time. Make this home happy, so that you may be fit for homes of your own if they are offered you, and contented here if they are not. One thing remember, my girls; Mother is always ready to be your confidante, Father to be your friend; and both of us trust and hope that our daughters, whether married or single, will be the pride and comfort of our lives.'

`We will, Marmee, we will!' cried both, with all their hearts, as she bade them good night.

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