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Chapter 40 Notes from Little Women

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Little Women Chapter 40

The March family accepts that it is inevitable that Beth will soon die. They all work hard to make her as comfortable as possible. The first months are happy, but soon little things like sewing became too difficult for her. Her soul is strong, but her body is not. Beth says that she is stronger with Jo around, and Jo doesn't leave her alone after that. Beth keeps herself as happy as possible by singing and reading.

One day, Jo has fallen asleep. Beth is looking over Pilgrim's Progress and she finds a little paper with a poem by Jo scribbled on it. It is about Beth and all the virtues he has taught her sisters. Then a log falls off the fire and Jo wakes up. Beth tells her that she found the poem and read it, and that she is glad she did because she felt guilty about never doing anything with her life. She tells Jo that the poem assures her that she has not been useless after all.

"When morning came, for the first time in many months the fire was out, Jo's place was empty and the room was very still. But a bird sang blithely on a budding bough, close by, the snowdrops blossomed freshly at the window, and the spring sunshine streamed in like a benediction over the placid face upon the pillow-- a face so full of painless peace that those who loved it best smiled though their tears, and thanked God that Beth was well at last." Chapter 40, pg. 493.

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