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338
LITTLE WOMEN.

"Well, then, why didn't thou tell me all this sooner?" asked Jo, bashfully.

"Now I shall haf to show thee all my heart, and I so gladly will, because thou must take care of it hereafter. See, then, my Jo—ah, the dear, funny little name!—I had a wish to tell something the day I said good-by, in New York; but I thought the handsome friend was betrothed to thee, and so I spoke not. Would'st thou have said 'Yes,' then, if I had spoken?"

"I don't know; I'm afraid not, for I didn't have any heart, just then."

"Prut! that I do not believe. It was asleep till the fairy prince came through the wood, and waked it up. Ah well, 'Die erste Liebe ist die beste'; but that I should not expect."

"Yes, the first love is the best; so be contented, for I never had another. Teddy was only a boy, and soon got over his little fancy," said Jo, anxious to correct the Professor's mistake.

"Good! then I shall rest happy, and be sure that thou givest me all. I haf waited so long, I am grown selfish, as thou wilt find, Professorin."

"I like that," cried Jo, delighted with her new name. "Now tell me what brought you, at last, just when I most wanted you?"

"This,"—and Mr. Bhaer took a little worn paper out of his waistcoat pocket.

Jo unfolded it, and looked much abashed, for it was one of her own contributions to a paper that paid for poetry, which accounted for her sending it an occasional attempt.