Little Women eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 698 pages of information about Little Women.

“Poor Jo!  She’s fast asleep, so I won’t wake her to ask leave.  She shows me all her things, and I don’t think she’ll mind if I look at this”, thought Beth, with a glance at her sister, who lay on the rug, with the tongs beside her, ready to wake up the minute the log fell apart.


    Sitting patient in the shadow
    Till the blessed light shall come,
    A serene and saintly presence
    Sanctifies our troubled home. 
    Earthly joys and hopes and sorrows
    Break like ripples on the strand
    Of the deep and solemn river
    Where her willing feet now stand.

    O my sister, passing from me,
    Out of human care and strife,
    Leave me, as a gift, those virtues
    Which have beautified your life. 
    Dear, bequeath me that great patience
    Which has power to sustain
    A cheerful, uncomplaining spirit
    In its prison-house of pain.

    Give me, for I need it sorely,
    Of that courage, wise and sweet,
    Which has made the path of duty
    Green beneath your willing feet. 
    Give me that unselfish nature,
    That with charity devine
    Can pardon wrong for love’s dear sake—­
    Meek heart, forgive me mine!

    Thus our parting daily loseth
    Something of its bitter pain,
    And while learning this hard lesson,
    My great loss becomes my gain. 
    For the touch of grief will render
    My wild nature more serene,
    Give to life new aspirations,
    A new trust in the unseen.

    Henceforth, safe across the river,
    I shall see forever more
    A beloved, household spirit
    Waiting for me on the shore. 
    Hope and faith, born of my sorrow,
    Guardian angels shall become,
    And the sister gone before me
    By their hands shall lead me home.

Blurred and blotted, faulty and feeble as the lines were, they brought a look of inexpressible comfort to Beth’s face, for her one regret had been that she had done so little, and this seemed to assure her that her life had not been useless, that her death would not bring the despair she feared.  As she sat with the paper folded between her hands, the charred log fell asunder.  Jo started up, revived the blaze, and crept to the bedside, hoping Beth slept.

“Not asleep, but so happy, dear.  See, I found this and read it.  I knew you wouldn’t care.  Have I been all that to you, Jo?” she asked, with wistful, humble earnestness.

Oh, Beth, so much, so much!” and Jo’s head went down upon the pillow beside her sister’s.

“Then I don’t feel as if I’d wasted my life.  I’m not so good as you make me, but I have tried to do right.  And now, when it’s too late to begin even to do better, it’s such a comfort to know that someone loves me so much, and feels as if I’d helped them.”

“More than any one in the world, Beth.  I used to think I couldn’t let you go, but I’m learning to feel that I don’t lose you, that you’ll be more to me than ever, and death can’t part us, though it seems to.”

Project Gutenberg
Little Women from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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