当家里发生这一连串事 情的时候，艾美正在马奇太太家中挨日子。此刻她深深体会到寄人篱下的滋味，第一次认识到自己在家里是如何受到亲人的宠爱。马奇婶婶从不宠爱人，她不赞成这 样；当然也是出于好意，因为小姑娘的表现十分讨她的欢心，而老人对侄儿几个孩子心里也未尝不爱，但她认为这种爱不宜表露出来。她的确在竭尽全力要令艾美幸 福，但是，老天作证，她的方法却糟糕透顶！一些老人尽管皱纹累累、白发苍苍，心中却仍然充满朝气，能够和孩子们同忧共喜，友好相处，使他们感到无拘无束， 并能寓教于乐，以最温柔的方式给予和得到友谊。不幸的是马奇婶婶却没有这个天分，她规矩森严，整日板着一副面孔，说话啰啰嗦嗦，冗长乏味，令艾美吃尽了苦 头。发现艾美比她的姐姐更乖巧听话，老太太觉得自己有责任把她从家里带来的娇气和懒气尽量铲除掉。因此她把艾美置于股掌之中，用自己六十年前所接受的教育 方法来教导她-其结果只有令艾美越发糊涂，她觉得自己像只落网苍蝇，落到了一个一丝不苟的蜘蛛手上。
她每天早上都得洗净茶杯，把旧式汤匙、一个圆肚银茶壶、几面镜子擦拭得锃光发亮。接着便得打扫房间，这个任务非同小可！几乎没有一粒尘埃可以躲得过 马奇婶婶的眼睛，而家具全部都是爪型腿脚，并刻有很多永远打扫不干净的浮雕。然后又得喂鹦哥，给叭儿狗梳毛，还得取东西，传达命令，楼上楼下跑上十多个来 回，因为老太太腿疾严重，极少离开自己的大座椅。干完这些累人的活儿后，她还得做一件伤透脑筋的事--做功课。之后她可以自由活动一个小时，这是她最心花 怒放的时候。劳里每天都过来，甜言蜜语地哄马奇婶婶，直到她答应让艾美跟他一同外出为止。然后他们一齐散步、骑马，尽兴而归。吃过午饭后，她得大声朗读， 并坐着一动不动，老太太则在打瞌睡，常常是一页没听完就睡着了，一睡就是一个小时。接着是缝缀各色布匹或缝制手巾，艾美表面不敢言语，心里却在拼命反抗， 就这样一直缝到傍晚，才可以随意玩玩，一直玩到吃茶时间。晚上的时光最为难熬，因为马奇婶婶开始大讲她年青时候的故事，这些故事沉闷不堪，艾美每次都盼着 上床睡觉，打算为自己的悲惨命运一哭，但每次都是还没有挤出一星半点眼泪便已睡着了。
如果不是有劳里和女佣人埃丝特老人，这种日子简直是一天也过不下去。单单是那只鹦鹉就足以令她神经错乱，因为它不久便发觉艾美并不喜欢自己，于是做 出种种淘气异常的事来，以泄心头之愤。每当她走到跟前，它便抓她的头发，她刚洗净了鸟笼，它便把面包和牛奶打翻，趁夫人打瞌睡又去啄"莫普"，把它弄得吠 叫不止，还在客人面前叫她的名字，总之一举一动都表现得十足一个该死的破鸟。她也忍受不了那只狗--一只肥胖、无礼的畜牲，每逢给它洗澡它就向她狂吼怒 叫，当它想吃东西时，它就以背着地躺倒地上，四脚朝天，脸上一副痴呆的表情，而这样求食一天足有十余次之多。厨师脾气粗暴，年老的马车夫是个聋子，唯一理 会她的人只有埃丝特。
埃丝特是个法国女人，她和"夫人"，她这样称呼自己的女主人，共同生活了多年，对老太太有一定的操纵权，因为老太太没有她便活不下去。她的真名叫做 埃丝特尔，但马奇太太命她更改名字，她遵从了，条件是永远不能要求她改变自己的宗教信仰。她喜欢上了艾美小姐，和她一起坐时常常一边烫"夫人"的花边，一 边跟她讲自己在法国遇到的奇闻怪事，令艾美大开眼界。她还允许"小姐"在这间大屋子里头四处游荡，仔细欣赏藏在大衣橱和旧式柜子里的奇珍异宝，因为马奇婶 婶藏品极多。艾美最中意的是一个印度木柜，内设许多奇形怪状的抽屉、小分类架和暗格，里头装着各种各样的饰物，有些贵重，有些只是怪异而已，都或多或少有 了一些年头。欣赏和摆弄这些东西给予艾美一种巨大的满足感，尤其是那些珠宝箱子，天鹅绒垫子上摆着各式四十年前装点美女的首饰。这里头有一套马奇婶婶出席 社交场合戴的石榴石饰物、她出阁时父亲送给她的珠宝、情人的钻石、出席葬礼戴的煤玉戒指和发夹，还有一些怪模怪样的金属小盒子，里头镶着已故朋友的照片、 头发制成的垂柳、她一个小女儿戴过的婴儿手镯、马奇叔叔的大挂表和被许多小孩把玩过的红印章。马奇婶婶的结婚戒子大模大样地摆在一个盒子里，因为她的手指 长胖了，现在已经戴不进去，于是被当作最最宝贵的珠宝小心翼翼地收藏起来。
“对，正是这样，用来做祷告。如果我们用这么精美的东西来做念珠，而不是把它当作轻薄的珠宝来佩戴，圣神们一定更高兴。““你似乎能从自己的祷告中 寻找到极大安慰，埃丝特，每次祷告后你都显得平静、满足。但愿我也能这样。““如果小姐是个天主教徒，就能找到真正的安慰；既然不是，你也不妨每天独处一 室，思考并祈祷，我在夫人之前侍候的那位好女主人便是这样。她有个小教堂，在那里她找到了极大的安慰。““我这样做合适吗？“艾美问。她在孤独寂寞中深感 需要一种帮助，由于贝思不在身边提醒自己，她觉得自己都快要把那本小册子给忘掉了。
“那将再好不过，如果你喜欢，我很乐意把化妆室收拾好给你用。不用告诉夫人，她睡觉时你可以进去静坐一会，幽思反省，祈求上帝保佑你姐姐。“埃丝特 十分虔诚，真情相劝，因为她心地善良，对艾美姐妹们的处境感同身受。艾美觉得这个主意不错，便同意她把自己房间隔壁一个光线明亮的小密室收拾出来，希望这 样能对自己有帮助。
从这天开始她成了驯服听话的典范，老太太看到自己的训练大见成效，喜得心花怒放。埃丝特在小房间里放上一张小桌子，前面摆一张脚凳，上面挂一幅从一 间锁着的屋子里拿来的图画。她认为这画没有什么价值，但因合适，便把它借来，心里以为夫人永远不会知道，即使知道了也不会管。殊不知这是一幅价值连城的世 界名画。爱美的艾美仰望着圣母亲切温柔的面孔，心里头千丝万缕，百感交集，眼睛从不觉得一点疲倦。她在桌上放上自己的小圣约书和赞美诗集，摆上一个花瓶， 每天换上劳里带来的最美丽的花儿，并来"静坐一会，幽思反省，祈求上帝保佑姐姐"。埃丝特送给她一串带银十字架的黑色念珠，但艾美怀疑它是否适合新教徒做 祈祷用，只是把它挂在一边。
这小女孩儿做这一切是非常诚挚的。由于离开了安全温暖的家，一个人孤身在外，她强烈地感到需要一双善良的手扶她一把，于是本能地向那位强大而慈悲 的"朋友"求助，他父亲般的爱是如此亲近地环抱着他幼小的孩子们。她一度忘记了母亲要独立思考和自我约束的话，但现在有人向她指点了方向，她便努力去寻找 道路，并义无反顾地踏上行程。不过艾美是个新香客，此刻她肩上的担子似乎万分沉重。她试图忘掉自己，保持乐观，问心无愧地做人，尽管没有人看到，也没有人 为此而赞扬她。为了使自己非常非常地好，她作出的第一个努力是，像马奇婶婶那样立一个遗嘱，这样假使她真的身染沉疴撒手尘寰，她的财产也可以得到公平慷慨 的分割。只要一想到跟自己小小的"珍藏"分手，她便心如刀割，因为她把这些小玩意看得跟老太太的珠宝一样珍贵。
劳里看，她希望他做自己的第二证人。因这天下雨，她走到楼上一间大房子里找点开心的事做，并带上鹦哥作伴。房子里放着满满一衣橱的旧式戏服，埃丝特 允许她穿着这些戏服玩，她于是乐此不疲，穿上褪了色的锦缎衣裳，对着全身镜来回检阅，行仪态万千的屈膝礼，穿着长裙摇曳而行，让它发出悦耳的瑟瑟声。这一 天她忙得不亦乐乎，连劳里敲门也没有听到。劳里悄悄探头望进去，恰好见到她手摇扇子，摇头摆脑，煞有介事地踱过来踱过去。她头上缠一条巨大的粉红色头巾， 与身上穿着的蓝缎子衣裳和胀鼓鼓的黄裙子相映成趣，由于穿着高跟鞋，走路必须十分谨慎，正如劳里事后向乔所述，她穿着鲜艳夺目的服装忸忸怩怩，鹦哥紧跟后 面，时而缩头缩脑，时而昂首挺胸，全力模仿她的一举一动，偶尔又停下来笑一声或高叫：“我们不是挺好吗？去你的，丑八怪！闭嘴！亲亲我，宝贝！哈！哈！“ 其情其景，令人捧腹。
“昨天，婶婶睡着了，我正敛息不敢吱一声，鹦哥却在笼子里尖声高叫，乱七乱动；我便过去把它放出来，发现笼子里有一只大蜘蛛，我用火钳把它捅出来， 它却溜到书架下面；鹦哥紧追过去，弯低脖子向书架下面瞪直双眼，怪模怪样地说：'出来散个步，宝贝。'我忍不住笑出了声，鹦哥听到叫骂起来，婶婶被吵醒 了，把我们两个痛斥一顿。““蜘蛛接受了那老家伙的邀请吗？“劳里打了个呵欠，问。
“如果你是我养的我就拧断你的脖子，你这孽畜！“劳里向鸟儿晃晃头叫道。鹦哥把头一侧躲过，扯着嗓子庄严地嘎嘎大叫：“阿利路亚！上帝保佑，宝 贝！““好了。“艾美把衣橱门关上，从口袋里掏出一张纸。“我想请你看看这份文件，告诉我它是否合法、妥当。我觉得我应该这样做，因为生命无常，我不想死 后引起纷争，令大家不快。“劳里咂咂嘴唇，把眼光从这位悲天悯人的朋友身上移开，微微背转身子，带着颇值嘉许的认真劲头读起了下面这份有错字的文件：我的 遗愿和遗属我，艾美·科蒂斯·马奇，在此心智健全之际，把我的全部财产曾（赠）送并遗曾（赠）如下--即，就是--也就是给父亲：我最好的图画、素描、地 图及艺术品，包括画框。还有一百美元给他自由支配。
While these things were happening at home, Amy was havinghard times at Aunt March's. She felt her exile deeply, andfor the first time in her life, realized how much she wasbeloved and petted at home. Aunt March never petted any one.She did not approve of it, but she meant to be kind, for the well-behaved little girl pleased her very much, and Aunt March hada soft place in her old heart for her nephew's children, thoughshe didn't think it proper to confess it. She really did herbest to make Amy happy, but, dear me, what mistakes she made.Some old people keep young at heart in spite of wrinkles andgray hairs, can sympathize with children's little cares andjoys, make them feel at home, and can hide wise lessons underpleasant plays, giving and receiving friendship in the sweetestway. But Aunt March had not this gift, and she worried Amy verymuch with her rules and orders, her prim ways, and long, prosytalks. Finding the child more docile and amiable than her sister,the old lady felt it her duty to try and counteract, as far aspossible, the bad effects of home freedom and indulgence. So shetook Amy by the hand, and taught her as she herself had beentaught sixty years ago, a process which carried dismay to Amy'ssoul, and made her feel like a fly in the web of a very strictspider.
She had to wash the cups every morning, and polish up theold-fashioned spoons, the fat silver teapot, and the glasses tillthey shone. Then she must dust the room, and what a trying jobthat was. Not a speck escaped Aunt March's eye, and all thefurniture had claw legs and much carving, which was never dustedto suit. Then Polly had to be fed, the lap dog combed, and adozen trips upstairs and down to get things or deliver orders,for the old lady was very lame and seldom left her big chair. Afterthese tiresome labors, she must do her lessons, which was a dailytrial of every virtue she possessed. Then she was allowed onehour for exercise or play, and didn't she enjoy it?
Laurie came every day, and wheedled Aunt March till Amy wasallowed to go out with him, when they walked and rode and hadcapital times. After dinner, she had to read aloud, and sit stillwhile the old lady slept, which she usually did for an hour, asshe dropped off over the first page. Then patchwork or towelsappeared, and Amy sewed with outward meekness and inward rebelliontill dusk, when she was allowed to amuse herself as she likedtill teatime. The evenings were the worst of all, for Aunt Marchfell to telling long stories about her youth, which were sounutterably dull that Amy was always ready to go to be, intendingto cry over her hard fate, but usually going to sleep beforeshe had squeezed out more than a tear or two.
If it had not been for Laurie, and old Esther, the maid,she felt that she never could have got through that dreadfultime. The parrot alone was enough to drive her distracted, forhe soon felt that she did not admire him, and revenged himselfby being as mischievous as possible. He pulled her hairwhenever she came near him, upset his bread and milk to plague herwhen she had newly cleaned his cage, made Mop bark by peckingat him while Madam dozed, called her names before company, andbehaved in all respects like an reprehensible old bird. Then shecould not endure the dog, a fat, cross beast who snarled andyelped at her when she made his toilet, and who lay on his backwith all his legs in the air and a most idiotic expression ofcountenance when he wanted something to eat, which was about adozen times a day. The cook was bad-tempered, the old coachmanwas deaf, and Esther the only one who ever took any notice ofthe young lady.
Esther was a Frenchwoman, who had lived with`Madame', asshe called her mistress, for many years, and who rathertyrannized over the old lady, who could not get along without her.Her real name was Estelle, but Aunt March ordered her to change it,and she obeyed, on condition that she was never asked to changeher religion. She took a fancy to Mademoiselle, and amused hervery much with odd stories of her life in France, when Amy satwith her while she got up Madam's laces. She also allowed herto roam about the great house, and examine the curious and prettythings stored away in the big wardrobes and the ancient chests,for Aunt March hoarded like a magpie. Amy's chief delight wasan Indian cabinet, full of queer drawers, little pigeonholes,and secret places, in which were kept all sorts of ornaments,some precious, some merely curious, all more or less antique.To examine and arrange these things gave Amy great satisfaction,especially the jewel cases, in which on velvet cushions reposedthe ornaments which had adorned a belle forty years ago. Therewas the garnet set which Aunt March wore when she came out, thepearls her father gave her on her wedding day, her lover's diamonds,the jet mourning rings and pins, the queer lockets, with portraitsof dead friends and weeping willows made of hair inside, the babybracelets her one little daughter had worn, Uncle March's bigwatch, with the red seal so many childish hands had played with,and in a box all by itself lay Aunt March's wedding ring, too smallnow for her fat finger, but put carefully away like the mostprecious jewel of them all.
"Which would Mademoiselle choose if she had her will?" askedEsther, wo always sat near to watch over and lock up the valuables.
"I like the diamonds best, but there is no necklace among them,and I'm fond of necklaces, they are so becoming. I should choosethis if I might," replied Amy, looking with great admiration at astring of gold and ebony beads from which hung a heavy cross ofthe same.
"I, too, covet that, but not as a necklace. Ah, no! To me itis a rosary, and as such I should use it like a good catholic," saidEsther, eyeing the handsome thing wistfully.
"Is it meant to use as you use the string of good-smellingwooden beads hanging over your glass?" asked Amy.
"Truly, yes, to pray with. It would be pleasing to the saintsif one used so fine a rosary as this, instead of wearing it as avain bijou."
"You seem to take a great deal of comfort in your prayers,Esther, and always come down looking quiet and satisfied. I wishI could."
"If Mademoiselle was a Catholic, she would find true comfort,but as that is not to be, it would be well if you went apart eachday to meditate and pray, as did the good mistress whom I servedbefore Madame. She had a little chapel, and in it found solacementfor much trouble."
"Would it be right for me to do so too?" asked Amy, who inher loneliness felt the need of help of some sort, and found thatshe was apt to forget her little book, now that Beth was not thereto remind her of it.
"It would be excellent and charming, and I shall gladlyarrange the little dressing room for you if you like it. Saynothing to Madame, but when she sleeps go you and sit alone awhile to think good thoughts, and pray the dear God preserveyour sister."
Esther was truly pious, and quite sincere in her advice, forshe had an affectionate heart, and felt much for the sisters intheir anxiety. Amy liked the idea, and gave her leave to arrangethe light closet next her room, hoping it would do her good.
"I wish I knew where all these pretty things would go whenAunt March dies," she said, as she slowly replaced the shiningrosary and shut the jewel cases one by one.
"To you and your sisters. I know it, Madame confides in me.I witnessed her will, and it is to be so," whispered Esther smiling.
"How nice! But I wish she'd let us have them now.Procrastination is not agreeable," observed Amy, taking a lastlook at the diamonds.
"It is too soon yet for the young ladies to wear these things.The first one who is affianced will have the pearls, Madame has saidit, and I have a fancy that the little turquoise ring will be givento you when you go, for Madame approves your good behavior andcharming manners."
"Do you think so? Oh, I'll be a lamb, if I can only have thatlovely ring! It's ever so much prettier than Kitty Bryant's. I dolike Aunt March after all." And Amy tried on the blue ring with adelighted face and a firm resolve to earn it.
From that day she was a model of obedience, and the old ladycomplacently admired the success of her training. Esther fittedup the closet with a little table, placed a footstool before it,and over it a picture taken from one of the shut-up rooms. Shethought it was of no great value, but, being appropriate, sheborrowed it, well knowing that Madame would never know it, norcare if she did. It was, however, a very valuable copy of one ofthe famous pictures of the world, and Amy's beauty-loving eyes werenever tired of looking up at the sweet face of the Divine Mother,while her tender thoughts of her own were busy at her heart. Onthe table she laid her little testament and hymnbook, kept a vasealways full of the best flowers Laurie brought her, and came everyday to `sit alone' thinking good thoughts, and praying the dearGod to preserve her sister. Esther had given her a rosary of blackbeads with a silver cross, but Amy hung it up and did not use it,feeling doubtful as to its fitness for Protestant prayers.
The little girl was very sincere in all this, for being leftalone outside the safe home nest, she felt the need of some kindhand to hold by so sorely that she instinctively turned to thestrong and tender Friend, whose fatherly love most closelysurrounds His little children. She missed her mother's help tounderstand and rule herself, but having been taught where to look,she did her best to find the way and walk in it confidingly. ButAmy was a young pilgrim, and just now her burden seemed very heavy.She tried to forget herself, to keep cheerful, and be satisfied withdoing right, though no one saw or praised her for it. In her firsteffort at being very, very good, she decided to make her will, asAunt March had done, so that if she did fall ill and die, herpossessions might be justly and generously divided. It cost her a pangeven to think of giving up the little treasures which in her eyeswere as precious as the old lady's jewels.
During one of her play hours she wrote out the importantdocument as well as she could, with some help from Esther asto certain legal terms, and when the good-natured Frenchwomanhad signed her name, Amy felt relieved and laid it by to showLaurie, whom she wanted as a second witness. As it was a rainyday, she went upstairs to amuse herself in one of the largechambers, and took Polly with her for company. In this roomthere was a wardrobe full of old-fashioned costumes with whichEsther allowed her to play, and it was her favorite amusement toarray herself in the faded brocades, and parade up and down beforethe long mirror, making stately curtsies, and sweeping her trainabout with a rustle which delighted her ears. So busy was she onthis day that she did not hear Laurie's ring nor see his facepeeping in at her as she gravely promenaded to and fro, flirtingher fan and tossing her head, on which she wore a great pink turban,contrasting oddly with her blue brocade dress and yellow quiltedpetticoat. She was obliged to walk carefully, for she had onhighheeled shoes, and, as Laurie told Jo afterward, it was a comicalsight to see her mince along in her gay suit, with Polly sidilngand bridling just behind her, imitating her as well as he could,and occasionally stopping to laugh or exclaim, "Ain't we fine?Get along, you fright! Hold your tongue! Kiss me, dear! Ha! Ha!"
Having with difficulty restrained an explosion of merriment,lest it should offend her majesty, Laurie tapped and was graciouslyreceived.
"Sit down and rest while I put these things away, then I wantto consult you about a very serious matter," said Amy, when shehad shown her splendor and driven Polly into a corner. "That birdis the trial of my life," she continued, removing the pink mountainfrom her head, while Laurie seated himself astride a chair."Yesterday, when Aunt was asleep and I was trying to be as still as amouse, Polly began to squall and flap about in his cage, so I wentto let him out, and found a big spider there. I poked it out, andit ran under the bookcase. Polly marched straight after it, stoopeddown and peeped under the bookcase, saying, in his funny way, with acock of his eye, `Come out and take a walk, my dear.' I couldn't helplaughing, which made Poll swear, and Aunt woke up and scolded us both."
"Did the spider accept the old fellow's invitation?" asked Laurie, yawning.
"Yes, out it came, and away ran Polly, frightened to death, andscrambled up on Aunt's chair, calling out, `Catch her! Catch her!Catch her!' as I chased the spider."
"That's a lie! Oh, lor!" cried the parrot, pecking at Laurie's toes.
"I'd wring your neck if you were mine, you old torment," criedLaurie, shaking his fist at the bird, who put his head on one sideand gravely croaked, "Allyluyer! Bless your buttons, dear!"
"Now I'm ready," said Amy, shutting the wardrobe and taking apiece of paper out of her pocket. "I want you to read that, please,and tell me if it is legal and right. I felt I ought to do it, forlife is uncertain and I don't want any ill feeling over my tomb."
Laurie bit his lips, and turning a little from the pensivespeaker, read the following document, with praiseworthy gravity,considering the spelling:
MY LAST WILL AND TESTIMENT
I, Amy Curtis March, being in my sane mind, go give andbequeethe all my earthly property--viz.to wit:--namely
To my father, my best pictures, sketches, maps, and worksof art, including frames. Also my $100, to do what he likes with.
To my mother, all my clothes, except the blue apron withpockets--also my likeness, and my medal, with much love.
To my dear sister Margaret, I give my turkquoise ring (if Iget it), also my green box with the doves on it, also my; pieceof real lace for her neck, and my sketch of her as a memorial ofher 'little girl'.
To Jo I leave my breastpin, the one mended with sealing wax,also my bronze inkstand--she lost the cover--and my most preciousplaster rabbit, because I am sorry I burned up her story.
To Beth (if she lives after me) I give my dolls and thelittle bureau, my fan, my linen collars and my new slippers ifshe can wear them being thin when she gets well. And I herewithalso leave her my regret that I ever made fun of old Joanna.
To my friend and neighbor Theodore Laurence I bequeethe mypaper mashay portfolio, my clay model of a horse though he didsay it hadn't any neck. Also in return for his great kindnessin the hour of affliction any one of my artistic works he likes,Noter Dame is the best.
To our venerable benefactor Mr. Laurence I leave my purplebox with a looking glass in the cover which will be nice forhis pens and remind him of the departed girl who thanks himfor his favors to her family, especially Beth.
I wish my favorite playmate Kitty Bryant to have the bluesilk apron and my gold-bead ring with a kiss.
To Hannah I give the bandbox she wanted and all the patchworkI leave hoping she `will remember me, when it you see'.
And now having disposed of my most valuable property I hopeall will be satisfied and not blame the dead. I forgive everyone,and trust we may all meet when the trump shall sound. Amen.
To this will and testiment I set my hand and seal on this20th day of Nov. Anni Domino 1861.
Amy Curtis March
The last name was written in pencil, and Amy explainedthat he was to rewrite it in ink and seal it up for her properly.
"What put it into your head? Did anyone tell you about Beth'sgiving away her things?" asked Laurie soberly, as Amy laid a bitof red tape, with sealing wax, a taper, and a standish before him.
She explained and then asked anxiously, "What about Beth?"
"I'm sorry I spoke, but as I did, I'll tell you. She felt soill one day that she told Jo she wanted to give her piano to Meg,her cats to you, and the poor old doll to Jo, who would love it forher sake. She was sorry she had so little to give, and left locksof hair to the rest of us, and her best love to Grandpa. She neverthought of a will."
Laurie was signing and sealing as he spoke, and did not lookup till a great tear dropped on the paper. Amy's face was fullof trouble, but she only said, "Don't people put sort ofpostscripts to their wills, sometimes?"
"Yes, `codicils', they call them."
"Put one in mine then, that I wish all my curls cut off, andgiven round to my friends. I forgot it, but I want it done thoughit will spoil my looks."
Laurie added it, smiling at Amy's last and greatest sacrifice.Then he amused her for an hour, and was much interested in all hertrials. But when he came to go, Amy held him back to whisper withtrembling lips, "Is there really any danger about Beth?"
"I'm afraid there is, but we must hope for the best, so don'tcry, dear." And Laurie put his arm about her with a brotherlygesture which was very comforting.
When he had gone, she went to her little chapel, and sittingin the twilight, prayed for Beth, with streaming tears and anaching heart, feeling that a million turquoise rings would notconsole her for the loss of her gentle little sister.