"It's so dreadful to be poor!" sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.
Nobody spoke for a minute; then Meg said in an altered tone, "You know the reason Mother proposed not having any presents this Christmas was because it is going to be a hard winter for everyone; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army.
"I know I do--teaching those tiresome children nearly all day, when I'm longing to enjoy myself at home," began Meg, in the complaining tone again.
How happy and good we'd be, if we had no worries!" said Meg, who could remember better times.
"Really, girls, you are both to be blamed," said Meg, beginning to lecture in her elder-sisterly fashion."You are old enough to leave off boyish tricks, and to behave better, Josephine.
'Smell it, father dear,' said Meg. 'Only smell it!'
Meg was in a perfect fright lest he should guess right too soon; shrinking away, as she held the basket towards him; curling up her pretty shoulders; stopping her ear with her hand, as if by so doing she could keep the right word out of Toby's lips; and laughing softly the whole time.
Tripe it was; and Meg, in high joy, protested he should say, in half a minute more, it was the best tripe ever stewed.
'And so,' said Meg, busying herself exultingly with the basket,
'He'd eat his dinner with an appetite, whoever he was, if it smelt like this,' said Meg, cheerfully.
I inflict all this on you because once you said that life is sometimes life and sometimes only a drama, and one must learn to distinguish t'other from which, and up to now I have always put that down as 'Meg's clever nonsense.' But this morning, it really does seem not life but a play, and it did amuse me enormously to watch the W's.
Dearest, dearest Meg,--I do not know what you will say: Paul and I are in love--the younger son who only came here Wednesday.