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268
Little Women.

"If Mrs. March can leave her husband, she'd better be sent for."

Hannah nodded without speaking, for her lips twitched nervously ; Meg dropped down into a chair as the strength seemed to go out of her limbs at the sound of those words, and Jo, after standing with a pale face for a minute, ran to the parlor, snatched up the telegram, and, throwing on her things, rushed out into the storm. She was soon back, and, while noise- lessly taking off her cloak, Laurie came in with a letter, saying that Mr. March was mending again. Jo read it thankfully, but the heavy weight did not seem lifted off her heart, and her face was so full of misery that Laurie asked, quickly, —

" What is it? is Beth worse?"

" I've sent for mother," said Jo, tugging at her rub- ber boots with a tragical expression.

" Good for you, Jo ! Did you do it on your own responsibility.?" asked Laurie, as he seated her in the hall chair, and took off the rebellious boots, seeing how her hands shook.

" No, the doctor told us to."

" Oh, Jo, it's not so bad as that? " cried Laurie, with a startled face.

" Yes, it is ; she don't know us, she don't even talk about the flocks of green doves, as she calls the vine leaves on the wall ; she don't look like my Beth, and there's nobody to help us bear it ; mother and father both gone, and God seems so far away I can't find Him."

As the tears streamed fast down poor Jo's cheeks, she stretched out her hand in a helpless sort of way,