8. CHAPTER EIGHT
"Watch and pray, dear, never get tired of trying, and never
think it is impossible to conquer your fault," said Mrs. March,
drawing the blowzy head to her shoulder and kissing the wet cheek
so tenderly that Jo cried even harder.
"You don't know, you can't guess how bad it is! It seems as
if I could do anything when I'm in a passion. I get so savage, I
could hurt anyone and enjoy it. I'm afraid I shall do something
dreadful some day, and spoil my life, and make everybody hate me.
Oh, Mother, help me, do help me!"
"I will, my child, I will. Don't cry so bitterly, but remember
this day, and resolve with all your soul that you will never know
another like it. Jo, dear, we all have our temptations, some far
greater than yours, and it often takes us all our lives to conquer
them. You think your temper is the worst in the world, but mine
used to be just like it."
"Yours, Mother? Why, you are never angry!" And for the
moment Jo forgot remorse in surprise.
"I've been trying to cure it for forty years, and have only
succeeded in controlling it. I am angry nearly every day of my
life, Jo, but I have learned not to show it, and I still hope to
learn not to feel it, though it may take me another forty years
to do so."
The patience and the humility of the face she loved so well
was a better lesson to Jo than the wisest lecture, the sharpest
reproof. She felt comforted at once by the sympathy and confidence
given her. The knowledge that her mother had a fault like
hers, and tried to mend it, made her own easier to bear and
strengthened her resolution to cure it, though forty years seemed
rather a long time to watch and pray to a girl of fifteen.
"Mother, are you angry when you fold your lips tight together
and go out of the room sometimes, when Aunt March scolds or people
worry you?" asked Jo, feeling nearer and dearer to her mother
than ever before.