4. CHAPTER FOUR
They always looked back before turning the corner, for
their mother was always at the window to nod and smile, and
wave her hand to them. Somehow it seemed as if they couldn't
have got through the day without that, for whatever their
mood might be, the last glimpse of that motherly face was
sure to affect them like sunshine.
"If Marmee shook her fist instead of kissing her hand
to us, it would serve us right, for more ungrateful wretches
than we are were never seen," cried Jo, taking a remorseful
satisfaction in the snowy walk and bitter wind.
"Don't use such dreadful expressions," replied Meg from
the depths of the veil in which she had shrouded herself
like a nun sick of the world.
"I like good strong words that mean something," replied
Jo, catching her hat as it took a leap off her head
preparatory to flying away altogether.
"Call yourself any names you like, but I am neither a
rascal nor a wretch and I don't choose to be called so."
"You're a blighted being, and decidedly cross today because
you can't sit in the lap of luxury all the time. Poor dear,
just wait till I make my fortune, and you shall revel
in carriages and ice cream and high-heeled slippers,
and posies, and red-headed boys to dance with."
"How ridiculous you are, Jo!" But Meg laughed at the
nonsense and felt better in spite of herself.
"Lucky for you I am, for if I put on crushed airs and
tried to be dismal, as you do, we should be in a nice state.
Thank goodness, I can always find something funny to keep me
up. Don't croak any more, but come home jolly, there's a dear."
Jo gave her sister an encouraging pat on the shoulder
as they parted for the day, each going a different way, each
hugging her little warm turnover, and each trying to be
cheerful in spite of wintry weather, hard work, and the
unsatisfied desires of pleasure-loving youth.