1 stern father bestows her hand, returned the troubadour.
2 I can hold them crumpled up in my hand, so no one will know how stained they are.
3 And there was Laurie, with a full cup in one hand and a plate of ice in the other.
4 Holding a hand of each, and watching the two young faces wistfully, Mrs. March said, in her serious yet cheery way.
5 Then she remembered her mother's promise and, slipping her hand under her pillow, drew out a little crimson-covered book.
6 Here a little hand slipped into his, and Beth looked up at him with a face full of gratitude, as she said, in her earnest yet timid way.
7 They always looked back before turning the corner, for their mother was always at the window to nod and smile, and wave her hand to them.
8 He wishes her to go into a convent, but she won't hear of it, and after a touching appeal, is about to faint when Roderigo dashes in and demands her hand.
9 All quiet, curtains down at the lower windows, servants out of sight, and nothing human visible but a curly black head leaning on a thin hand at the upper window.
10 My faithful friend and noble patron," continued Laurie with a wave of the hand, "who has so flatteringly presented me, is not to be blamed for the base stratagem of tonight.
11 Beth blushed like a rose under the friendly look he wore, but she was not frightened now, and gave the hand a grateful squeeze because she had no words to thank him for the precious gift he had given her.
12 "If Marmee shook her fist instead of kissing her hand to us, it would serve us right, for more ungrateful wretches than we are were never seen," cried Jo, taking a remorseful satisfaction in the snowy walk and bitter wind.
13 "All right, show her up, it's Miss Jo," said Laurie, going to the door of his little parlor to meet Jo, who appeared, looking rosy and quite at her ease, with a covered dish in one hand and Beth's three kittens in the other.
14 So you must try to be contented with making your name boyish, and playing brother to us girls, said Beth, stroking the rough head with a hand that all the dish washing and dusting in the world could not make ungentle in its touch.
15 She leaned her forehead on the cool pane, and stood half hidden by the curtains, never minding that her favorite waltz had begun, till some one touched her, and turning, she saw Laurie, looking penitent, as he said, with his very best bow and his hand out.
16 Meg bathed the insulted hand with glycerine and tears, Beth felt that even her beloved kittens would fail as a balm for griefs like this, Jo wrathfully proposed that Mr. Davis be arrested without delay, and Hannah shook her fist at the 'villain' and pounded potatoes for dinner as if she had him under her pestle.
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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