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213
Castles in the Air.

and went on about you all, in flaming style. If ever I do get my wish, you see what I'll do for Brooke."

" Begin to do something now, by not plaguing his life out," said Meg, sharply.

" How do you know I do, miss?"

" I can always tell by his face, when he goes away. If you have been good, he looks satisfied, and walks briskly ; if you have plagued4».,him, he's sober, and walks slowly, as if he wanted to go back and do his work better."

"Well, I like that! So you keep an account of my good and bad marks in Brooke's face, do you ? I see him bow and smile as he passes your window, but I didn't know you'd got up a telegraph."

" We haven't ; don't be angry, and oh, don't tell him I said anything ! It was only to show that I cared how you get on, and what is said here is said in confidence, you know," cried Meg, much alarmed at the thought of what might follow from her careless speech.

"I don't tell tales," replied Laurie, with his " high and mighty" air, as Jo called a certain expression which he occasionally wore. " Only if- Brooke is going to be a thermometer, I must mind and have fair weather for him to report."

" Please don't be offended ; I didn't mean to preach or tell tales, or be silly ; I only thought Jo was en- couraging you in a feeling which you'd be sorry for, by and by. You are so kind to us, we feel as if you were our brother, and say just what we think ; forgive me, I meant it kindly ! " and Meg offered her hand with a gesture both affectionate and timid.