25. CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE
As the younger girls stand together, giving the last touches
to their simple toilet, it may be a good time to tell of a few
changes which three years have wrought in their appearance, for
all are looking their best just now.
Jo's angles are much softened, she has learned to carry herself
with ease, if not grace. The curly crop has lengthened into
a thick coil, more becoming to the small head atop of the tall
figure. There is a fresh color in her brown cheeks, a soft shine
in her eyes, and only gentle words fall from her sharp tongue today.
Beth has grown slender, pale, and more quiet than ever. The
beautiful, kind eyes are larger, and in them lies an expression
that saddens one, although it is not sad itself. It is the shadow
of pain which touches the young face with such pathetic patience,
but Beth seldom complains and always speaks hopefully of `being
Amy is with truth considered `the flower of the family', for
at sixteen she has the air and bearing of a full-grown woman, not
beautiful, but possessed of that indescribable charm called grace.
One saw it in the lines of her figure, the make and motion of her
hands, the flow of her dress, the droop of her hair, unconscious
yet harmonious, and as attractive to many as beauty itself. Amy's
nose still afflicted her, for it never would grow Grecian, so did
her mouth, being too wide, and having a decided chin. These offending
features gave character to her whole face, but she never could see it,
and consoled herself with her wonderfully fair complexion,
keen blue eyes, and curls more golden and abundant than ever.
All three wore suits of thin silver gray (their best gowns for
the summer), with blush roses in hair and bosom, and all three
looked just what they were, fresh-faced, happy-hearted girls, pausing
a moment in their busy lives to read with wistful eyes the sweetest
chapter in the romance of womanhood.
There were to be no ceremonious performances, everything was
to be as natural and homelike as possible, so when Aunt March arrived,
she was scandalized to see the bride come running to welcome and lead her in,
to find the bridegroom fastening up a garland that had fallen down,
and to catch a glimpse of the paternal minister marching upstairs
with a grave countenance and a wine bottle under each arm.