1 But I don't think the little we should spend would do any good.
2 We've each got a dollar, and the army wouldn't be much helped by our giving that.
3 "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
4 Amy, though the youngest, was a most important person, in her own opinion at least.
5 It's naughty to fret, but I do think washing dishes and keeping things tidy is the worst work in the world.
6 And Jo shook the blue army sock till the needles rattled like castanets, and her ball bounded across the room.
7 She didn't say "perhaps never," but each silently added it, thinking of Father far away, where the fighting was.
8 But I am afraid I don't, and Meg shook her head, as she thought regretfully of all the pretty things she wanted.
9 "You're a dear, and nothing else," answered Meg warmly, and no one contradicted her, for the 'Mouse' was the pet of the family.
10 "I planned to spend mine in new music," said Beth, with a little sigh, which no one heard but the hearth brush and kettle-holder.
11 Let's each buy what we want, and have a little fun; I'm sure we work hard enough to earn it, cried Jo, examining the heels of her shoes in a gentlemanly manner.
12 "Birds in their little nests agree," sang Beth, the peacemaker, with such a funny face that both sharp voices softened to a laugh, and the "pecking" ended for that time.
13 Round shoulders had Jo, big hands and feet, a flyaway look to her clothes, and the uncomfortable appearance of a girl who was rapidly shooting up into a woman and didn't like it.
14 Margaret, the eldest of the four, was sixteen, and very pretty, being plump and fair, with large eyes, plenty of soft brown hair, a sweet mouth, and white hands, of which she was rather vain.
15 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.
16 It was a comfortable room, though the carpet was faded and the furniture very plain, for a good picture or two hung on the walls, books filled the recesses, chrysanthemums and Christmas roses bloomed in the windows, and a pleasant atmosphere of home peace pervaded it.
17 Nobody spoke for a minute; then Meg said in an altered tone, "You know the reason Mother proposed not having any presents this Christmas was because it is going to be a hard winter for everyone; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army."
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