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Little Men

11. Uncle Teddy
For a week Dan only moved from bed to sofa; a long week and a hard one, for
the hurt foot was very painful at times, the quiet days were very wearisome to the
active lad, longing to be out enjoying the summer weather, and especially difficult
was it to be patient. But Dan did his best, and every one helped him in their
various ways; so the time passed, and he was rewarded at last by hearing the
doctor say, on Saturday morning,
"This foot is doing better than I expected. Give the lad the crutch this afternoon,
and let him stump about the house a little."
"Hooray!" shouted Nat, and raced away to tell the other boys the good news.
Everybody was very glad, and after dinner the whole flock assembled to behold
Dan crutch himself up and down the hall a few times before he settled in the
porch to hold a sort of levee. He was much pleased at the interest and good-will
shown him, and brightened up more and more every minute; for the boys came
to pay their respects, the little girls fussed about him with stools and cushions,
and Teddy watched over him as if he was a frail creature unable to do anything
for himself. They were still sitting and standing about the steps, when a carriage
stopped at the gate, a hat was waved from it, and with a shout of "Uncle Teddy!
Uncle Teddy!" Rob scampered down the avenue as fast as his short legs would
carry him. All he boys but Dan ran after him to see who should be first to open
the gate, and in a moment the carriage drove up with boys swarming all over it,
while Uncle Teddy sat laughing in the midst, with his little daughter on his knee.
"Stop the triumphal car and let Jupiter descend," he said, and jumping out ran up
the steps to meet Mrs. Bhaer, who stood smiling and clapping her hands like a
girl.
"How goes it, Teddy?"
"All right, Jo."
Then they shook hands, and Mr. Laurie put Bess into her aunt's arms, saying, as
the child hugged her tight, "Goldilocks wanted to see you so much that I ran
away with her, for I was quite pining for a sight of you myself. We want to play
with your boys for an hour or so, and to see how 'the old woman who lived in a
shoe, and had so many children she did not know what to do,' is getting on."
"I'm so glad! Play away, and don't get into mischief," answered Mrs. Jo, as the
lads crowded round the pretty child, admiring her long golden hair, dainty dress,
and lofty ways, for the little "Princess," as they called her, allowed no one to kiss
her, but sat smiling down upon them, and graciously patting their heads with her
little, white hands. They all adored her, especially Rob, who considered her a sort
of doll, and dared not touch her lest she should break, but worshipped her at a
respectful distance, made happy by an occasional mark of favor from her little
highness. As she immediately demanded to see Daisy's kitchen, she was borne
off by Mrs. Jo, with a train of small boys following. The others, all but Nat and
Demi, ran away to the menagerie and gardens to have all in order; for Mr. Laurie
always took a general survey, and looked disappointed if things were not
flourishing.
 
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