6. CHAPTER SIX
If the roof of the house had suddenly flown off, the old
gentleman wouldn't have been more astonished. But he liked it.
Oh, dear, yes, he liked it amazingly! And was so touched and
pleased by that confiding little kiss that all his crustiness
vanished, and he just set her on his knee, and laid his
wrinkled cheek against her rosy one, feeling as if he had got his
own little grand daughter back again. Beth ceased to fear him
from that moment, and sat there talking to him as cozily as if
she had known him all her life, for love casts out fear, and
gratitude can conquer pride. When she went home, he walked with
her to her own gate, shook hands cordially, and touched his hat
as he marched back again, looking very stately and erect, like
a handsome, soldierly old gentleman, as he was.
When the girls saw that performance, Jo began to dance a jig,
by way of expressing her satisfaction, Amy nearly fell out of the
window in her surprise, and Meg exclaimed, with up-lifted hands,
"Well, I do believe the world is coming to an end.