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317
Pleasant Meadows.

were considered effectually quenched, and went about with forlorn faces, which were rather belied by explo- sions of laughter when the two got together.

Several days of unusually mild weather fitly ushered in a splendid Christmas-day. Hannah "felt in her bones that it was going to be an uncommonly plummy day," and she proved herself a true prophetess, for everybody and everything seemed bound to produce a grand success. To begin with: Mr. March wrote that he should soon be with them; then Beth felt uncommonly well that morning, and, being dressed in her mother's gift, — a soft crimson merino wrapper, — was borne in triumph to the window, to behold the offering of Jo and Laurie. The Unquenchables had done their best to be worthy of the name, for, like elves, they had worked by night, and conjured up a comical surprise. Out in the garden stood a stately snow-maiden, crowned with holly, bearing a basket of fruit and flowers in one hand, a great roll of new music in the other, a perfect rainbow of an Afghan round her chilly shoulders, and a Christmas carol issuing from her lips, on a pink paper streamer:—


"THE JUNGFRAU TO BETH.

" God bless you, dear Queen Bess ! May nothing you dismay; But health, and peace, and happiness, Be yours, this Christmas-day.

"Here's fruit to feed our busy bee, And -flowers for her nose; Here's music for her pianee,— An Afghan for her toes