when a sound from Meg made them look up to see her staring at her note, with a frightened face.
"My child, what is it?" cried her mother, running to her, while Jo tried to take the paper which had done the mischief.
" It's all a mistake — he didn't send it — oh, Jo, how could you do it } " and Meg hid her face in her hands, crying as if her heart was quite broken.
"Me! I've done nothing! What's she talking about?" cried Jo, bewildered.
Meg's mild eyes kindled with anger as she pulled a crumpled note from her pocket, and threw it at Jo, saying, reproachfully, —
" You wrote it, and that bad boy helped you. How could you be so rude, so mean, and cruel to us both?"
Jo hardly heard her, for she and her mother were reading the note, which was written in a peculiar hand.
"My Dearest Margaret, —
"I can no longer restrain my passion, and must know my fate before I return. I dare not tell your parents yet, but I think they would consent if they knew that we adored one another. Mr. Laurence will help me to some good place, and then, my sweet girl, you will make me happy. I implore you to say nothing to your family yet, but to send one word of hope through Laurie to
" Your devoted "John."
" Oh, the little villain ! that's the way he meant to pay me for keeping my word to mother. I'll give him