flowers Laurie brought her, and came every day to sit alone, `thinking good thoughts, and praying the dear God to preserve her sister'. Esther had given her a rosary of black beads, with a silver cross, but Amy hung it up and did not use it, feeling more than doubtful as to its fitness for Protestant prayers.

The little girl was very sincere in all this, for, being left alone outside the safe home-nest, she felt the need of some kind hand to hold by so sorely, that she instinctively turned to the strong and tender friend, Whose fatherly love most closely surrounds His little children. She missed her mother's help to understand and rule herself, but having been taught where to look, she did her best to find the way, and walk in it confidingly. But Amy was a young pilgrim, and just now her burden seemed very heavy. She tried to forget herself, to keep cheerful, and be satisfied with doing right, though no one saw or praised her for it. In her first effort at being very, very good, she decided to make her will, as Aunt March had done; so that if she did fall ill and die, her possessions might be justly and generously divided. It cost her a pang even to think of giving up the little treasures which in her eyes were as precious as the old lady's jewels.

During one of her play-hours she wrote out the important document as well as she could, with some help from Esther as to certain legal terms, and, when the good-natured Frenchwoman had signed her name, Amy felt relieved, and laid it by to show Laurie, whom she wanted as a second witness. As it was a rainy day, she went upstairs to amuse herself in one of the large chambers, and took Polly with her for company. In this room there was a wardrobe full of old-fashioned costumes, with which Esther allowed her to play, and it was her favourite amusement to array herself in the faded brocades, and parade up and down before the long mirror, making stately courtesies, and sweeping her train about, with a rustle which delighted her ears. So busy was she on this day that she did not hear Laurie's ring, nor see his face peeping in at her, as she gravely promenaded to and fro, flirting her fan and tossing her head, on which she wore a great pink turban, contrasting oddly with her blue brocade dress and yellow quilted petticoat. She was obliged to walk carefully, for she had on high-heeled shoes, and, as Laurie told Jo afterwards, it was a comical sight to see her mince along in her gay suit, with Polly sidling and bridling just behind her, imitating her as well as he could, and occasionally stopping to laugh or exclaim, `Ain't we fine? Get along, you fright! Hold your tongue! Kiss me, dear! Ha! ha!'

Having with difficulty restrained an explosion of merriment lest it should offend her majesty, Laurie tapped, and was graciously received.

`Sit down and rest while I put these things away; then I want to consult you about a very serious matter,' said Amy, when she had shown her splendour, and driven Polly into a corner. `That bird is the trial of my life,' she continued, removing the pink mountain from her head, while Laurie seated himself astride of a chair. `Yesterday, when Aunt was asleep, and I was trying to be as still as a mouse, Polly began to squall and flap about in his cage; so I went to let him out, and found a big spider there. I poked it out, and it ran under the book-case; Polly marched straight after it, stooped down and peeped under the book- case, saying, in his funny way, with a cock of his eye, "Come out and take a walk, my dear." I couldn't help laughing, which made Poll swear, and Aunt woke up and scolded us both.'

`Did the spider accept the old fellow's invitation?' asked Laurie, yawning.

`Yes; out it came, and away ran Polly, frightened to death, and scrambled up on Aunt's chair, calling out, "Catch her! catch her! catch her!" as I chased the spider.'

`That's a lie! Oh, lor!' cried the parrot, pecking at Laurie's toes.

`I'd wring your neck if you were mine, you old torment,' cried Laurie, shaking his fist at the bird, who put his head on one side, and gravely croaked, `Allyluyer! bless your buttons, dear!'

`Now I'm ready,' said Amy, shutting the wardrobe, and taking a paper out of her pocket. `I want you to read that, please, and tell me if it is legal and right. I felt that I ought to do it, for life is uncertain and I don't want any ill-feeling over my tomb.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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