1 Four women, taught by weal and woe.
2 They disliked her, but had been taught to be kind to her, simply because she was old and poor and had few friends.
3 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.
4 Mamma thought the dear too young to be taught to conquer his prejudices, but Papa believed that it never was too soon to learn obedience.
5 The hall was empty, and they had a grand polka, for Laurie danced well, and taught her the German step, which delighted Jo, being full of swing and spring.
6 She missed her mother's help to understand and rule herself, but having been taught where to look, she did her best to find the way and walk in it confidingly.
7 So she took Amy by the hand, and taught her as she herself had been taught sixty years ago, a process which carried dismay to Amy's soul, and made her feel like a fly in the web of a very strict spider.
8 For the parents who had taught one child to meet death without fear, were trying now to teach another to accept life without despondency or distrust, and to use its beautiful opportunities with gratitude and power.
9 But she did show something better than brilliancy or skill, for she sang Beth's songs with a tender music in her voice which the best master could not have taught, and touched the listener's hearts with a sweeter power than any other inspiration could have given her.
10 This household happiness did not come all at once, but John and Meg had found the key to it, and each year of married life taught them how to use it, unlocking the treasuries of real home love and mutual helpfulness, which the poorest may possess, and the richest cannot buy.
11 Lessons in patience were so sweetly taught her that she could not fail to learn them, charity for all, the lovely spirit that can forgive and truly forget unkindness, the loyalty to duty that makes the hardest easy, and the sincere faith that fears nothing, but trusts undoubtingly.
12 As she grew, her mother began to feel that the Dovecote would be blessed by the presence of an inmate as serene and loving as that which had helped to make the old house home, and to pray that she might be spared a loss like that which had lately taught them how long they had entertained an angel unawares.
13 So taught by love and sorrow, Jo wrote her little stories, and sent them away to make friends for themselves and her, finding it a very charitable world to such humble wanderers, for they were kindly welcomed, and sent home comfortable tokens to their mother, like dutiful children whom good fortune overtakes.
14 They had a long talk that night, and Meg learned to love her husband better for his poverty, because it seemed to have made a man of him, given him the strength and courage to fight his own way, and taught him a tender patience with which to bear and comfort the natural longings and failures of those he loved.