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150
LITTLE WOMEN.

with ink, and a third burnt brown, having been used as a holder.

"'Such a man!' laughed good-natured Mrs. K., as she put the relics in the rag-bag. 'I suppose the others are torn up to rig ships, bandage cut fingers, or make kite tails. It's dreadful, but I can't scold him; he's so absent-minded and good-natured, he lets those boys ride over him rough-shod. I agreed to do his washing and mending, but he forgets to give out his things, and I forget to look them over, so he comes to a sad pass sometimes.'

"'Let me mend them,' said I; 'I don't mind it, and he needn't know. I'd like to,—he's so kind to me about bringing my letters, and lending books.'

"So I have got his things in order, and knit heels into two pairs of the socks,—for they were boggled out of shape with his queer darns. Nothing was said, and I hoped he wouldn't find it out,—but one day last week he caught me at it. Hearing the lessons he gives to others has interested and amused me so much, that I took a fancy to learn; for Tina runs in and out, leaving the door open, and I can hear. I had been sitting near this door, finishing off the last sock, and trying to understand what he said to a new scholar, who is as stupid as I am; the girl had gone, and I thought he had also, it was so still, and I was busily gabbling over a verb, and rocking to and fro in a most absurd way, when a little crow made me look up, and there was Mr. Bhaer looking and laughing quietly, when he made signs to Tina not to betray him.

"'So,' he said, as I stopped and stared like a goose, 'you peep at me, I peep at you, and that is not