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CHAPTER XII.

HEARTACHE.

WHATEVER his motive might have been, Laurie "dug" to some purpose that year, for he graduated with honor, and gave the Latin Oration with the grace of a Phillips, and the eloquence of a Demosthenes,—so his friends said. They were all there—his grandfather, oh, so proud! Mr. and Mrs. March, John and Meg, Jo and Beth, and all exulted over him with the sincere admiration which boys make light of at the time, but fail to win from the world by any after-triumphs.

"I've got to stay for this confounded supper,—but I shall be home early to-morrow; you'll come and meet me as usual, girls?" Laurie said, as he put the sisters into the carriage after the joys of the day were over. He said "girls," but he meant Jo,—for she was the only only one who kept up the old custom; she had not the heart to refuse her splendid, successful boy anything, and answered, warmly,—

"I'll come, Teddy, rain or shine, and march before you, playing 'Hail the conquering hero comes,' on a jews-harp."

Laurie thanked her with a look that made her think, in a sudden panic, "Oh, deary me! I know he'll say something, and then what shall I do?"

Evening meditation and morning work somewhat allayed her fears, and, having decided that she wouldn't be vain enough to think people were going to propose

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