" Much obliged ; I'll do anything if you'll let me stop a bit, for it's as dull as the desert of Sahara down there. Shall I sew, read, cone, draw, or do all at once ? Bring on your bears ; I'm ready," and Laurie sat down with a submissive expression delightful to behold.
" Finish this story while I set my heel," said Jo, handing him the book.
" Yes'm," was the meek answer, as he began, doing his best to prove his gratitude for the favor of an admission into the " Busy Bee Society."
The story was not a long one, and, when it was finished, he ventured to ask a few questions as a reward of merit.
" Please, mum, could I inquire if this highly in- structive and charming institution is a new one ? "
"Would you tell him?" asked Meg of her sisters.
" He'll laugh," said Amy, warningly.
"Who cares?" said Jo.
" I guess he'll like it," added Beth.
" Of course I shall ! I give you my word I won't laugh. Tell away, Jo, and don't be afraid."
" The idea of being afraid of you ! Well, you see we used to play ' Pilgrim's Progress,' and we have been going on with it in earnest, all winter and summer."
" Yes, I know," said Laurie, nodding wisely.
"Who told you?" demanded Jo.
" No, it was me ; I wanted to amuse him one night when you were all away, and he was rather dismal. He did like it, so don't scold, Jo," said Beth, meekly.