1 Bless your heart, child, it's to keep you well.
2 "Just listen to me a minute, and be a good child," said Meg soothingly.
3 "I don't call myself a child, and I'm not in my teens yet," observed Amy.
4 For now and then she forgot her grown-up ways and acted like a spoiled child.
5 They both died when Laurie was a little child, and then his grandfather took him home.
6 I'm getting too old for such things, observed Meg, who was as much a child as ever about 'dressing-up' frolics.
7 There were six dolls to be taken up and dressed every morning, for Beth was a child still and loved her pets as well as ever.
8 "You'll have to go and thank him," said Jo, by way of a joke, for the idea of the child's really going never entered her head.
9 She had been so simply taught that there was no nonsense in her head, and at fifteen she was as innocent and frank as any child.
10 To Jo alone did the shy child tell her thoughts, and over her big harum-scarum sister Beth unconsciously exercised more influence than anyone in the family.
11 Those foolish, yet well meant words, had opened a new world to Meg, and much disturbed the peace of the old one in which till now she had lived as happily as a child.
12 I should think she'd hate to poke herself where she isn't wanted, said Jo crossly, for she disliked the trouble of overseeing a fidgety child when she wanted to enjoy herself.
13 Finding the child more docile and amiable than her sister, the old lady felt it her duty to try and counteract, as far as possible, the bad effects of home freedom and indulgence.
14 My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning and may be many, but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one.
15 How she did it, she never knew, but for the next few minutes she worked as if possessed, blindly obeying Laurie, who was quite self-possessed, and lying flat, held Amy up by his arm and hockey stick till Jo dragged a rail from the fence, and together they got the child out, more frightened than hurt.
16 That night, when Beth played to Mr. Laurence in the twilight, Laurie, standing in the shadow of the curtain, listened to the little David, whose simple music always quieted his moody spirit, and watched the old man, who sat with his gray head on his hand, thinking tender thoughts of the dead child he had loved so much.
17 For in that sad yet happy hour, she had learned not only the bitterness of remorse and despair, but the sweetness of self-denial and self-control, and led by her mother's hand, she had drawn nearer to the Friend who always welcomes every child with a love stronger than that of any father, tenderer than that of any mother.
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