and the only ornaments she wore were the lilies of the valley, which "her John" liked best of all the flowers that grew.
"You do look just like our own dear Meg, only so very sweet and lovely, that I should hug you if it wouldn't crumple your dress," cried Amy, surveying her with delight, when all was done.
"Then I am satisfied. But please hug and kiss me, every one, and don't mind my dress; I want a great many crumples of this sort put into it to-day;" and Meg opened her arms to her sisters, who clung about her with April faces, for a minute, feeling that the new love had not changed the old.
"Now I'm going to tie John's cravat for him, and then to stay a few minutes with father, quietly in the study;" and Meg ran down to perform these little ceremonies, and then to follow her mother wherever she went, conscious that in spite of the smiles on the motherly face, there was a secret sorrow hidden in the motherly heart, at the flight of the first bird from the nest.
As the younger girls stand together, giving the last touches to their simple toilet, it may be a good time to tell of a few changes which three years have wrought in their appearance; for all are looking their best, just now.
Jo's angles are much softened; she has learned to carry herself with ease, if not grace. The curly crop has been lengthened into a thick coil, more becoming to the small head atop of the tall figure. There is a fresh color in her brown cheeks, a soft shine in her eyes; only gentle words fall from her sharp tongue to-day.