"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."It's so dreadful to be poor!" sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress."I don't think it's fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing atall," added little Amy, with an injured sniff."We've got Father and Mother, and each other," said Beth contentedly from her corner.The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words, butdarkened again as Jo said sadly, "We haven't got Father, and shall not have him for a long time."She didn't say "perhaps never," but each silently added it, thinking of Father far away, where thefighting was.Nobody spoke for a minute; then Meg said in an altered tone, "You know the reason Motherproposed not having any presents this Christmas was because it is going to be a hard winter foreveryone; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are sufferingso in the army. We can't do much, but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly.But I am afraid I don't," and Meg shook her head, as she thought regretfully of all the prettythings she wanted."But I don't think the little we should spend would do any good. We've each got a dollar, andthe army wouldn't be much helped by our giving that. I agree not to expect anything fromMother or you, but I do want to buy Undine and Sintran for myself. I've wanted it so long," saidJo, who was a bookworm."I planned to spend mine in new music," said Beth, with a little sigh, which no one heard butthe hearth brush and kettle-holder."I shall get a nice box of Faber's drawing pencils; I really need them," said Amy decidedly."Mother didn't say anything about our money, and she won't wish us to give up everything.Let's each buy what we want, and have a little fun; I'm sure we work hard enough to earn it,"cried Jo, examining the heels of her shoes in a gentlemanly manner."I know I do-teaching those tiresome children nearly all day, when I'm longing to enjoymyself at home," began Meg, in the complaining tone again.