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205
Castles in the Air.

" 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.

" Spirits."

" 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.