"Father to the West to try his luck,–so poor, so hopeful, so serene...Mother had several boarders, and May got on well at school. Betty was still the home bird, and had a little romance with C."
Louisa described events in her journal (a sort of monthly summary) published in 1898 as Louisa May Alcott: Her Life, Letters, and Journals, edited by her biographer Ednah D. Cheney. Here is her description of the contagion.
"June, 1856.–Home, to find dear Betty very ill with scarlet-fever caught from some poor children Mother nursed when they fell sick, living over a cellar where pigs had been kept. The landlord (a deacon) would not clean the place till Mother threatened to sue him for allowing a nuisance. Too late to save two of the poor babies or Lizzie and May from the fever."
"You may have heard how very sick my Lizzy has been. Scarlet fever took us all down in its various stages of virulence, but it fixed on Lizzy most tenaciously." Abba Alcott to her brother Samuel May, July, 1855. The dates conflict here. Was it 1855 or 1856?
"My dear Beth died at three this morning, after two years of patient pain. Last week she put her [needle]work away, saying the needle was 'too heavy,' and having given us her few possessions, made ready for the parting in her own simple, quiet way. For two days she suffered much, begging for ether, though its effect was gone. Tuesday she lay in Father's arms, and called us round her, smiling contentedly as she said, 'All here!' I think she bid us good-by then, as she held our hands and kissed us tenderly. Saturday she slept, and at midnight became unconscious, quietly breathing her life away till three; then, with one last look of the beautiful eyes, she was gone."
In the 1949 movie Margaret O'Brien played Beth on the left below, another transposition in which she was the youngest child, here with Elizabeth Taylor as an older Amy (May). Note the quilt:
You need four B triangles and 16 C triangles.
8” Block (2” Grid)
B—Cut 1 square 5-1/4”. Cut into 4 triangles with two diagonal cuts.
12” Block (3” Grid)
16” Block (4” Grid)
"I was calling there one day when a covering for a quilt was needed for the soldiers and she went into the attic and brought down a dress of the dear departed Lizzie's saying: 'The girls think Lizzie's clothes too sacred to be touched, but this had better be in use for the soldiers than lying in the attic.' "