Mr. Brooke, so I thought you wouldn't mind if I kept my little secret for a few days. I'm so silly that I liked to think no one knew ; and, while I was deciding what to say, I felt like the girls in books, who have such things to do. Forgive me, mother, I'm paid for my silliness now ; I never can look him in the face again."
" What did you say to him? " asked Mrs. March.
" I only said I was too young to do anything about it yet ; that I didn't wish to have secrets from you, and he must speak to father. I was very grateful for his kindness, and would be his friend, but nothing more, for a long while."
Mrs. March smiled, as if well pleased, and Jo clapped her hands, exclaiming, with a laugh, —
" You are almost equal to Caroline Percy, who was a pattern of prudence ! Tell on, Meg. What did he say to that ? "
" He writes in a different way entirely ; telling me that he never sent any love-letter at all, and is very sorry that my roguish sister, Jo, should take such liberties with our names. It's very kind and re- spectful, but think how dreadful for me ! "
Meg leaned against her mother, looking the image of despair, and Jo tramped about the room, calling Laurie names. All of a sudden she stopped, caught up the two notes, and, after looking at them closely, said, decidedly, " I don't believe Brooke ever saw either of these letters. Teddy wrote both, and keeps yours to crow over me with, because I wouldn't tell him my secret."
" Don't have any secrets, Jo ; tell it to mother, and