"Yes, there they were, by the ocean liner''s railing. Uncle Alec was swinging his hat like a boy, with Phebe smiling and nodding on one side and Rose kissing both hands delightedly on the other as she recognized familiar faces and heard familiar voices welcoming her home."
""Bless her dear heart, she''s bonnier than ever, with that blue cloak round her, and her bright hair flying in the wind!" said Charlie excitedly as they watched the group upon the deck with eager eyes."
Archie, Phebe, Mac, Charlie and Rose: they were friends separated by an ocean for some years -- and now the changes they saw in one another, when reunited at the dock, were to be wondered at. Most marvelous at all, at least in the eyes of the young men, was how Rose had transformed: for the girl they had left behind had become a woman.
Louisa May Alcott (1832-88) was one of the most popular writers of the 19th century, known especially for her series of novels beginning with "Little Women."