Another look passed between the ladies, and Aunt March said to Amy, “You are quite strong and well now, dear, I believe? Eyes don’t trouble you any more, do they?”
“Not at all, thank you, ma’am. I’m very well, and mean to do great things next winter, so that I may be ready for Rome, whenever that joyful time arrives.”
“Good girl! You deserve to go, and I’m sure you will some day,” said Aunt March, with an approving pat on the head, as Amy picked up her ball for her.
Crosspatch, draw the latch,
Sit by the fire and spin,
squalled Polly, bending down from his perch on the back of her chair to peep into Jo’s face, with such a comical air of impertinent inquiry that it was impossible to help laughing.
“Most observing bird,” said the old lady.
“Come and take a walk, my dear?” cried Polly, hopping toward the china closet, with a look suggestive of a lump of sugar.
“Thank you, I will. Come Amy.” and Jo brought the visit to an end, feeling more strongly than ever that calls did have a bad effect upon her constitution. She shook hands in a gentlemanly manner, but Amy kissed both the aunts, and the girls departed, leaving behind them the impression of shadow and sunshine, which impression caused Aunt March to say, as they vanished . . .
“You’d better do it, Mary. I’ll supply the money.” and Aunt Carrol to reply decidedly, “I certainly will, if her father and mother consent.”
Mrs. Chester’s fair was so very elegant and select that it was considered a great honor by the young ladies of the neighborhood to be invited to take a table, and everyone was much interested in the matter. Amy was asked, but Jo was not, which was fortunate for all parties, as her elbows were decidedly akimbo at this period of her life, and it took a good many hard knocks to teach her how to get on easily. The ‘haughty, uninteresting creature’ was let severely alone, but Amy’s talent and taste were duly complimented by the offer of the art table, and she exerted herself to prepare and secure appropriate and valuable contributions to it.
Everything went on smoothly till the day before the fair opened, then there occurred one of the little skirmishes which it is almost impossible to avoid, when some five-and-twenty women, old and young, with all their private piques and prejudices, try to work together.
May Chester was rather jealous of Amy because the latter was a greater favorite than herself, and just at this time several trifling circumstances occurred to increase the feeling. Amy’s dainty pen-and-ink work entirely eclipsed May’s painted vases—that was one thorn. Then the all conquering Tudor had danced four times with Amy at a late party and only once with May—that was thorn number two. But the chief grievance that rankled in her soul, and gave an excuse for her