"Oh, dear, how hard it does seem to take up our packs and go on," sighed Meg the
morning after the party, for now the holidays were over, the week of merrymaking did
not fit her for going on easily with the task she never liked.
"I wish it was Christmas or New Year's all the time. Wouldn't it be fun?" answered Jo,
"We shouldn't enjoy ourselves half so much as we do now. But it does seem so nice to
have little suppers and bouquets, and go to parties, and drive home, and read and rest, and
not work. It's like other people, you know, and I always envy girls who do such things,
I'm so fond of luxury," said Meg, trying to decide which of two shabby gowns was the
"Well, we can't have it, so don't let us grumble but shoulder our bundles and trudge along
as cheerfully as Marmee does. I'm sure Aunt March is a regular Old Man of the Sea to
me, but I suppose when I've learned to carry her without complaining, she will tumble
off, or get so light that I shan't mind her."
This idea tickled Jo's fancy and put her in good spirits, but Meg didn't brighten, for her
burden, consisting of four spoiled children, seemed heavier than ever. She had not heart
enough even to make herself pretty as usual by putting on a blue neck ribbon and
dressing her hair in the most becoming way.
"Where's the use of looking nice, when no one sees me but those cross midgets, and no
one cares whether I'm pretty or not?" she muttered, shutting her drawer with a jerk. "I
shall have to toil and moil all my days, with only little bits of fun now and then, and get
old and ugly and sour, because I'm poor and can't enjoy my life as other girls do. It's a
So Meg went down, wearing an injured look, and wasn't at all agreeable at breakfast
time. Everyone seemed rather out of sorts and inclined to croak.
Beth had a headache and lay on the sofa, trying to comfort herself with the cat and three
kittens. Amy was fretting because her lessons were not learned, and she couldn't find her
rubbers. Jo would whistle and make a great racket getting ready.
Mrs. March was very busy trying to finish a letter, which must go at once, and Hannah
had the grumps, for being up late didn't suit her.
"There never was such a cross family!" cried Jo, losing her temper when she had upset an
inkstand, broken both boot lacings, and sat down upon her hat.
"You're the crossest person in it!" returned Amy, washing out the sum that was all wrong
with the tears that had fallen on her slate.
"Beth, if you don't keep these horrid cats down cellar I'll have them drowned," exclaimed
Meg angrily as she tried to get rid of the kitten which had scrambled up her back and
stuck like a burr just out of reach.