18. CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
Before the girls could believe the happy truth, the doctor
came to confirm it. He was a homely man, but they thought his
face quite heavenly when he smiled and said, with a fatherly look
at them, "Yes, my dears, I think the little girl will pull through
this time. Keep the house quiet, let her sleep, and when she wakes,
What they were to give, neither heard, for both crept into
the dark hall, and, sitting on the stairs, held each other close,
rejoicing with hearts too full for words. When they went back to
be kissed and cuddled by faithful Hannah, they found Beth lying,
as she used to do, with her cheek pillowed on her hand, the
dreadful pallor gone, and breathing quietly, as if just fallen
"If Mother would only come now!" said Jo, as the winter night
began to wane.
"See," said Meg, coming up with a white, half-opened rose,
"I thought this would hardly be ready to lay in Beth's hand
tomorrow if she--went away from us. But it has blossomed in the
night, and now I mean to put it in my vase here, so that when
the darling wakes, the first thing she sees will be the little
rose, and Mother's face."
Never had the sun risen so beautifully, and never had the
world seemed so lovely as it did to the heavy eyes of Meg and Jo,
as they looked out in the early morning, when their long, sad
vigil was done.
"It looks like a fairy world," said Meg, smiling to herself,
as she stood behind the curtain, watching the dazzling sight.
"Hark!" cried Jo, starting to her feet.
Yes, there was a sound of bells at the door below, a cry
from Hannah, and then Laurie's voice saying in a joyful whisper,
"Girls, she's come! She's come!"