`I knew it! I knew it! Oh, my Jo, I am so proud!' and Beth began to hug her sister, and exult over this splendid success.

Dear me, how delighted they all were, to be sure! how Meg wouldn't believe it till she saw the words `Miss Josephine March' actually printed in the paper; how graciously Amy criticised the artistic parts of the story, and offered hints for a sequel, which unfortunately couldn't be carried out, as the hero and heroine were dead; how Beth got excited, and skipped and sung with joy; how Hannah came in to exclaim `Sakes alive, well I never!' in great astonishment at `that Jo's doin's'; how proud Mrs. March was when she knew it; how Jo laughed, with tears in her eyes, as she declared she might as well be a peacock and done with it; and how the `Spread Eagle' might be said to flap his wings triumphantly over the House of March, as the paper passed from hand to hand.

`Tell us all about it.'

`When did it come?'

`How much did you get for it?'

`What will Father say?'

`Won't Laurie laugh?' cried the family, all in one breath, as they clustered about Jo; for these foolish, affectionate people made a jubilee of every little household joy.

`Stop jabbering, girls, and I'll tell you everything,' said Jo, wondering if Miss Burney felt any grander over her Evelina, than she did over her Rival Painters. Having told how she disposed of her tales, Jo added, `And when I went to get my answer, the man said he liked them both, but didn't pay beginners, only let them print in his paper, and noticed the stories. It was good practice, he said; and when the beginners improved, anyone would pay. So I let him have the two stories, and today this was sent to me, and Laurie caught me with it, and insisted on seeing it, so I let him; and he said it was good, and I shall write more, and he's going to get the next paid for, and I am so happy, for in time I may be able to support myself and help the girls.'

Jo's breath gave out here; and., wrapping her head in the paper, she bedewed her little story with a few natural tears; for to be independent, and earn the praise of those she loved, were the dearest wishes of her heart, and this seemed to be the first step towards that happy end.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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