damask table-cloths with a truly feminine appreciation of their fineness.
"I haven't a single finger bowl, but this is a 'set out' that will last me all my days, Hannah says;" and Meg looked quite contented, as well she might.
"Toodles is coming," cried Jo from below, and they all went down to meet Laurie, whose weekly visit was an important event in their quiet lives.
A tall, broad-shouldered young fellow, with a cropped head, a felt-basin of a hat, and a fly-away coat, came tramping down the road at a great pace, walked over the low fence, without stopping to open the gate, straight up to Mrs March, with both hands out, and a hearty—
"Here I am, mother! Yes, it's all right."
The last words were in answer to the look the elder lady gave him; a kindly, questioning look, which the handsome eyes met so frankly that the little ceremony closed as usual, with a motherly kiss.
"For Mrs. John Brooke, with the maker's congratulations and compliments. Bless you, Beth! What a refreshing spectacle you are, Jo! Amy, you are getting altogether too handsome for a single lady."
As Laurie spoke, he delivered a brown paper parcel to Meg, pulled Beth's hair ribbon, stared at Jo's big pinafore, and fell into an attitude of mock rapture before Amy, then shook hands all round, and every one began to talk.
"Where is John?" asked Meg, anxiously.
"Stopped to get the license for to-morrow, ma'am."
"Which side won the last match, Teddy?" inquired Jo, who persisted in feeling an interest in manly sports, despite her nineteen years.