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Jo's Boys

Chapter 1: Ten Years Later
'If anyone had told me what wonderful changes were to take place here in ten
years, I wouldn't have believed it,' said Mrs Jo to Mrs Meg, as they sat on the
piazza at Plumfield one summer day, looking about them with faces full of pride
and pleasure.
'This is the sort of magic that money and kind hearts can work. I am sure Mr
Laurence could have no nobler monument than the college he so generously
endowed; and a home like this will keep Aunt March's memory green as long as
it lasts,' answered Mrs Meg, always glad to praise the absent.
'We used to believe in fairies, you remember, and plan what we'd ask for if we
could have three wishes. Doesn't it seem as if mine had been really granted at
last? Money, fame, and plenty of the work I love,' said Mrs Jo, carelessly
rumpling up her hair as she clasped her hands over her head just as she used to
do when a girl.
'I have had mine, and Amy is enjoying hers to her heart's content. If dear
Marmee, John, and Beth were here, it would be quite perfect,' added Meg, with a
tender quiver in her voice; for Marmee's place was empty now.
Jo put her hand on her sister's, and both sat silent for a little while, surveying the
pleasant scene before them with mingled sad and happy thoughts.
It certainly did look as if magic had been at work, for quiet Plumfield was
transformed into a busy little world. The house seemed more hospitable than
ever, refreshed now with new paint, added wings, well-kept lawn and garden,
and a prosperous air it had not worn when riotous boys swarmed everywhere
and it was rather difficult for the Bhaers to make both ends meet. On the hill,
where kites used to be flown, stood the fine college which Mr Laurence's
munificent legacy had built. Busy students were going to and fro along the paths
once trodden by childish feet, and many young men and women were enjoying
all the advantages that wealth, wisdom, and benevolence could give them.
Just inside the gates of Plumfield a pretty brown cottage, very like the Dovecote,
nestled among the trees, and on the green slope westward Laurie's white-pillared
mansion glittered in the sunshine; for when the rapid growth of the city shut in the
old house, spoilt Meg's nest, and dared to put a soap-factory under Mr
Laurence's indignant nose, our friends emigrated to Plumfield, and the great
changes began.
These were the pleasant ones; and the loss of the dear old people was
sweetened by the blessings they left behind; so all prospered now in the little
community, and Mr Bhaer as president, and Mr March as chaplain of the college,
saw their long-cherished dream beautifully realized. The sisters divided the care
of the young people among them, each taking the part that suited her best. Meg
was the motherly friend of the young women, Jo the confidante and defender of
all the youths, and Amy the lady Bountiful who delicately smoothed the way for
needy students, and entertained them all so cordially that it was no wonder they
named her lovely home Mount Parnassus, so full was it of music, beauty, and the
culture hungry young hearts and fancies long for.