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Chapter 46: Under the Umbrella

While Laurie and Amy were taking conjugal strolls over velvet carpets, as they set their house in order, and planned a blissful future, Mr. Bhaer and Jo were enjoying promenades of a different sort, along muddy roads and sodden fields.
I always do take a walk toward evening, and I don't know why I should give it up, just because I happen to meet the Professor on his way out, said Jo to herself, after two or three encounters, for though there were two paths to Meg's whichever one she took she was sure to meet him., either going or returning. He was always walking rapidly, and never seemed to see her until quite close, when he would look as if his short-sighted eyes had failed to recognize the approaching lady till that moment. Then, if she was going to Meg's he always had something for the babies. If her face was turned homeward, he had merely strolled down to see the river, and was just returning, unless they were tired of his frequent calls.
Under the circumstances, what co…

Chapter 47: Harvest Time

For a year Jo and her Professor worked and waited, hoped and loved, met occasionally, and wrote such voluminous letters that the rise in the price of paper was accounted for, Laurie said. The second year began rather soberly, for their prospects did not brighten, and Aunt March died suddenly. But when their first sorrow was over for they loved the old lady in spite of her sharp tongue they found they had cause for rejoicing, for she had left Plumfield to Jo, which made all sorts of joyful things possible.
It's a fine old place, and will bring a handsome sum, for of course you intend to sell it, said Laurie, as they were all talking the matter over some weeks later.
No, I don't, was Jo's decided answer, as she petted the fat poodle, whom she had adopted, out of respect to his former mistress.
You don't mean to live there?
Yes, I do.
But, my dear girl, it's an immense house, and will take a power of money to keep it in order. The garden and orchard alone need two or three…

Chapter 44: My Lord and Lady

Please, Madam Mother, could you lend me my wife for half an hour? The luggage has come, and I've been making hay of Amy's Paris finery, trying to find some things I want, said Laurie, coming in the next day to find Mrs. Laurence sitting in her mother's lap, as if being made `the baby' again.
Certainly. Go, dear, I forgot that you have any home but this. And Mrs. March pressed the white hand that wore the wedding ring, as if asking pardon for her maternal covetousness.
I shouldn't have come over if I could have helped it, but I can't get on without my little woman any more than a . . .
Weathercock can without the wind, suggested Jo, as he paused for a simile. Jo had grown quite her own saucy self again since Teddy came home.
Exactly, for Amy keeps me pointing due west most of the time, with only an occasional whiffle round to the south, and I haven't had an easterly spell since I was married. Don't know anything about the north, but am altogether salubrious …

Chapter 45: Daisy and Demi

I cannot feel that I have done my duty as humble historian of the March family, without devoting at least one chapter to the two most precious and important members of it. Daisy and Demi had now arrived at years of discretion, for in this fast age babies of three or four assert their rights, and get them, too, which is more than many of their elders do. If there ever were a pair of twins in danger of being utterly spoiled by adoration, it was these prattling Brookes. Of course they were the most remarkable children ever born, as will be shown when I mention that they walked at eight months, talked fluently at twelve months, and at two years they took their places at table, and behaved with a propriety which charmed all beholders. At three, Daisy demanded a `needler', and actually made a bag with four stitches in it. She likewise set up housekeeping in the sideboard, and managed a microscopic cooking stove with a skill that brought tears of pride to Hannah's eyes, while Demi le…

Chapter 42: All Alone

It was easy to promise self-abnegation when self was wrapped up in another, and heart and soul were purified by a sweet example. But when the helpful voice was silent, the daily lesson over, the beloved presence gone, and nothing remained but lonliness and grief, then Jo found her promise very hard to keep. How could she `comfort Father and Mother' when her own heart ached with a ceaseless longing for her sister, how could she `make the house cheerful' when all its light and warmth and beauty seemed to have deserted it when Beth left the old home for the new, and where in all the world could she `find some useful, happy work to do', that would take the place of the loving service which had been its own reward? She tried in a blind, hopeless way to do her duty, secretly rebelling against it all the while, for it seemed unjust that her few joys should be lessened, her burdens made heavier, and life get harder and harder as she toiled along. Some people seemed to get all suns…

Chapter 43: Suprises

Jo was alone in the twilight, lying on the old sofa, looking at the fire, and thinking. It was her favorite way of spending the hour of dusk. No one disturbed her, and she used to lie there on Beth's little red pillow, planning stories, dreaming dreams, or thinking tender thoughts of the sister who never seemed far away. Her face looked tired, grave, and rather sad, for tomorrow was her birthday, and she was thinking how fast the years went by, how old she was getting, and how little she seemed to have accomplished. Almost twenty-five, and nothing to show for it. Jo was mistaken in that. There was a good deal to show, and by-and-by she saw, and was grateful for it.
An old maid, that's what I'm to be. A literary spinster, with a pen for a spouse, a family of stories for children, and twenty years hence a morsel of fame, perhaps, when, like poor Johnson, I'm old and can't enjoy it, solitary, and can't share it, independent, and don't need it. Well, I needn'…