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280
Little Women.

curious and pretty things stored away in the big wardrobes and the ancient chests ; for Aunt March hoarded like a magpie. Amy's chief delight was an Indian cabinet full of queer drawers, little pigeon- holes, and secret places in which were kept all sorts of ornaments, some precious, some merely curious, all more or less antique. To examine and arrange these things gave Amy great satisfaction, especially the jewel cases ; in which, on velvet cushions, reposed the orna- ments which had adorned a belle forty years ago. There was the garnet set which Aunt March wore when she came out, the pearls her father gave her on her wedding day, her lover's diamonds, the jet mourning rings and pins, the queei lockets, with portraits of dead friends, and weeping willows made of hair inside, the baby bracelets her one little daughter had worn ; Uncle March's big watch, with the red seal so many childish hands had played with, and in a box, all by itself, lay Aunt March's wedding ring, too small now for her fat finger, but put carefully away, like the most precious jewel of them all.

"Which would Mademoiselle choose if she had her will ? " asked Esther, who always sat near to watch over and lock up the valuables.

" I like the diamonds best, but there is no necklace among them, and I'm fond of necklaces, they are so becoming. I should choose this if I might," replied Amy, looking with great admiration at a string of gold and ebony beads, from which hung a heavy cross of the same.

" I, too, covet that, but not as a necklace ; ah, no ! to me it is a rosary, and as such I should use it like a