1. CHAPTER ONE
"Each of you told what your burden was just now, except Beth.
I rather think she hasn't got any," said her mother.
"Yes, I have. Mine is dishes and dusters, and envying girls
with nice pianos, and being afraid of people."
Beth's bundle was such a funny one that everybody wanted to
laugh, but nobody did, for it would have hurt her feelings very
"Let us do it," said Meg thoughtfully. "It is only another
name for trying to be good, and the story may help us, for though
we do want to be good, it's hard work and we forget, and don't do
"We were in the Slough of Despond tonight, and Mother came
and pulled us out as Help did in the book. We ought to have our
roll of directions, like Christian. What shall we do about that?"
asked Jo, delighted with the fancy which lent a little romance to
the very dull task of doing her duty.
"Look under your pillows christmas morning, and you will
find your guidebook," replied Mrs. March.
They talked over the new plan while old Hannah cleared the
table, then out came the four little work baskets, and the needles
flew as the girls made sheets for Aunt March. It was uninteresting
sewing, but tonight no one grumbled. They adopted Jo's plan of
dividing the long seams into four parts, and calling the quarters
Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, and in that way got on capitally,
especially when they talked about the different countries as they
stitched their way through them.
At nine they stopped work, and sang, as usual, before they
went to bed. No one but Beth could get much music out of the old
piano, but she had a way of softly touching the yellow keys and
making a pleasant accompaniment to the simple songs they sang. Meg
had a voice like a flute, and she and herr mother led the little
choir. Amy chirped like a cricket, and Jo wandered through the airs
at her own sweet will, always coming out at the wrong place with a
croak or a quaver that spoiled the most pensive tune. They had
always done this from the time they could lisp...