her fingers flew, and her thoughts were busied with girlish fancies as innocent and fresh as the pansies in her belt, that Mrs. March smiled, and was satisfied.
"Two letters for Doctor Jo, a book, and a funny old hat, which covered the whole post-office, stuck outside," said Beth, laughing, as she went into the study where Jo sat writing.
"What a sly fellow Laurie is! I said I wished bigger hats were the fashion, because I burn my face every hot day. He said, 'Why mind the fashion? Wear a big hat, and be comfortable!' I said I would if I had one, and he has sent me this, to try me. I'll wear it, for fun, and show him I don't care for the fashion"; and, hanging the antique broad-brim on a bust of Plato, Jo read her letters.
One from her mother made her cheeks glow and her eyes fill, for it said to her, --
"I write a little word to tell you with how much satisfaction
I watch your efforts to control your temper. You say nothing
about your trials, failures, or successes, and think, perhaps, that
no one sees them but the Friend whose help you daily ask, if
I may trust the well-worn cover of your guide-book. I, too,
have seen them all, and heartily believe in the sincerity of your
resolution, since it begins to bear fruit. Go on, dear, patiently
and bravely, and always believe that no one sympathizes more
tenderly with you than your loving
"That does me good! That 's worth millions of money and pecks of praise. O Marmee, I do try! I will keep on trying, and not get tired, since I have you to help me."
Laying her head on her arms, Jo wet her little romance with a few happy tears, for she had thought that no one saw and appreciated her efforts to be good; and this assurance was doubly precious, doubly encouraging, because unexpected, and from the person whose commendation she most valued. Feeling stronger than ever to meet and subdue her Apollyon, she