`November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year' said Margaret, standing at the window one dull afternoon, looking out at the frost-bitten garden.
`That's the reason I was born in it,' observed Jo, pensively, quite unconscious of the blot on her nose.
`If something very pleasant should happen now, we should think it a delightful month,' said Beth, who took a hopeful view of everything, even November.
`I dare say; but nothing pleasant ever does happen in this family,' said Meg, who was out of sorts. `We go grubbing along day after day, without a bit of change, and very little fun. We might as well be in a treadmill.'
`My patience, how blue we are!' cried Jo. `I don't much wonder, poor dear, for you see other girls having splendid times, while you grind, grind, year in and year out. Oh, don't I wish I could manage things for you as I do for my heroines! You're pretty enough and good enough already, so I'd have some rich relation leave you a fortune unexpectedly; then you'd dash out as an heiress, scorn everyone who has slighted you, go abroad and come home my Lady Something, in a blaze of splendour and elegance.'
`People don't have fortunes left them in that style nowadays; men have to work, and women to marry for money. It's a dreadful unjust world,' said Meg, bitterly.
`Jo and I are going to make fortunes for you all; just wait ten years, and see if we don't,' said Amy, who sat in a corner, making mud pies, as Hannah called her little clay models of birds, fruit, and faces.
`Can't wait, and I'm afraid I haven't much faith in ink and dirt, though I'm grateful for your good intentions.' Meg sighed, and turned to the frost-bitten garden again; Jo groaned, and leaned both elbows on the table, in a despondent attitude, but Amy patted away energetically; and Beth, who sat at the other window, said, smiling, `Two pleasant things are going to happen right away; Marmee is coming down the street, and Laurie is tramping through the garden as if he had something nice to tell.'
In they both came, Mrs. March with her usual question,
`Any letter from Father, girls?' and Laurie to say in his persuasive way, `Won't some of you come for a drive? I've been working away at mathematics till my head is in a muddle, and I'm going to freshen my wits by a brisk turn. It's a dull day, but the air isn't bad, and I'm going to take Brooke home, so it will be gay inside, if it isn't out. Come, Jo, you and Beth will go, won't you?'
`Of course we will.'
`Much obliged, but I'm busy'; and Meg whisked out her work-basket, for she had agreed with her mother that it was best, for her at least, not to drive often with the young gentleman.
`We three will be ready in a minute,' cried Amy, running away to wash her hands.
`Can I do anything for you, Madam Mother?' asked Laurie, leaning over Mrs. March's chair, with the affectionate look and tone he always gave her.
`No, thank you, except call at the office, if you'll be so kind, dear. It's our day for a letter, and the postman hasn't been. Father is as regular as the sun, but there's some delay on the way, perhaps.'
A sharp ring interrupted her, and a minute after Hannah came in with a letter.
`It's one of them horrid telegraph things, mum,' she said, handing it as if she was afraid it would explode and do some damage.
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