Camp Laurence

Beth was postmistress, for, being most at home, she could attend to it regularly, and dearly liked the daily task of unlocking the little door and distributing the mail. One July day she came in with her hands full, and went about the house leaving letters and parcels like the penny post.

`Here's your posy, Mother! Laurie never forgets that,' she said, putting the fresh nosegay in the vase which stood in `Marmee's corner', and was kept supplied by the affectionate boy.

`Miss Meg March, one letter and a glove,' continued Beth, delivering the article to her sister, who sat near her mother, stitching wristbands.

`Why, I left a pair over there, and here is only one,' said Meg looking at the grey cotton glove. `Didn't you drop the other in the garden?'

`No, I'm sure I didn't; for there was only one in the office.'

`I hate to have odd gloves! Never mind, the other may be found. My letter is only a translation of the German song I wanted; I think Mr. Brooke did it, for this isn't Laurie's writing.'

Mrs. March glanced at Meg, who was looking very pretty in her gingham morning gown, with the little curls blowing about her forehead, and very womanly, as she sat sewing at her little work-table, full of tiny white rolls; so unconscious of the thought in her mother's mind as she sewed and sung, while her fingers flew, and her thoughts were busied with girlish fancies as innocent and fresh as the pansies in her belt, that Mrs. March smiled, and was satisfied.

`Two letters for Doctor Jo, a book, and a funny old hat, which covered the whole post-office, stuck outside,' said Beth, laughing, as she went into the study, where Jo sat writing.

`What a sly fellow Laurie is! I said I wished bigger hats were the fashion, because I burn my face every hot day. He said, `Why mind the fashion? Wear a big hat and be comfortable!' I said I would if I had one, and he has sent me this to try me. I'll wear it, for fun, and show him I don't care for the fashion'; and hanging the antique broad-brim on a bust of Plato, Jo read her letters.

One from her mother made her cheeks glow and her eyes fill, for it said to her:

My Dear - I write a little word to tell you with how much satisfaction I watch your efforts to control your temper. You say nothing about your trials, failures, or successes, and think, perhaps, that no one sees them but the friend whose help you daily ask, if I may trust the well-worn cover of your guide book. I, too, have seen them all, and heartily believe in the sincerity of your resolution, since it begins to bear fruit. Go on, dear, patiently and bravely, and always believe that no one sympathises more tenderly with you than your loving


`That does me good! that's worth millions of money and pecks of praise. Oh, Marmee, I do try! I will keep on trying, and not get tired, since I have you to help me.'

Laying her head on her arm, Jo wet her little romance with a few happy tears, for she had thought no one saw and appreciated her efforts to do good; and this assurance was doubly precious, doubly encouraging, because unexpected, and from the person whose commendation she most valued. Feeling stronger than ever to meet and subdue her Apollyon, she pinned the note inside her frock, as a shield and a reminder, lest she be taken unawares, and proceeded to open her other letter, quite ready for either good or bad news. In a big, dashing hand, Laurie wrote:

Dear Jo,

What ho!

  By PanEris using Melati.

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