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351
HARVEST TIME.

"cow with a crumpled horn" used to invite rash youths to come and be tossed. It became a sort of boys' paradise, and Laurie suggested that it should be called the "Bhaer-garten," as a compliment to its master, and appropriate to its inhabitants.

It never was a fashionable school, and the Professor did not lay up a fortune, but it was just what Jo intended it to be, "a happy, home-like place for boys who needed teaching, care, and kindness." Every room in the big house was soon full, every little plot in the garden soon had its owner, a regular menagerie appeared in barn and shed,—for pet animals were allowed,—and, three times a day, Jo smiled at her Fritz from the head of a long table lined on either side with rows of happy young faces, which all turned to her with affectionate eyes, confiding words, and grateful hearts full of love for "Mother Bhaer." She had boys enough now, and did not tire of them, though they were not angels by any means, and some of them caused both Professor and Professorin much trouble and anxiety. But her faith in the good spot which exists in the heart of the naughtiest, sauciest, most tantalizing little ragamuffin gave her patience, skill, and, in time, success,—for no mortal boy could hold out long with Father Bhaer shining on him as benevolently as the sun, and Mother Bhaer forgiving him seventy times seven. Very precious to Jo was the friendship of the lads, their penitent sniffs and whispers after wrong-doing, their droll or touching little confidences, their pleasant enthusiasms, hopes, and plans; even their misfortunes,—for they only endeared them to her all the more. There were slow boys and bashful boys, feeble boys and riotous boys, boys that