The Laurence Boy
"Jo! Jo! Where are you?" cried Meg at the foot of the garret stairs.
"Here!" answered a husky voice from above, and, running up, Meg found her sister eating
apples and crying over the Heir of Redclyffe, wrapped up in a comforter on an old three-
legged sofa by the sunny window. This was Jo's favorite refuge, and here she loved to
retire with half a dozen russets and a nice book, to enjoy the quiet and the society of a pet
rat who lived near by and didn't mind her a particle. As Meg appeared, Scrabble whisked
into his hole. Jo shook the tears off her cheeks and waited to hear the news.
"Such fun! Only see! A regular note of invitation from Mrs. Gardiner for tomorrow
night!" cried Meg, waving the precious paper and then proceeding to read it with girlish
"`Mrs. Gardiner would be happy to see Miss March and Miss Josephine at a little dance
on New Year's Eve.' Marmee is willing we should go, now what shall we wear?"
"What's the use of asking that, when you know we shall wear our poplins, because we
haven't got anything else?" answered Jo with her mouth full.
"If I only had a silk!" sighed Meg. "Mother says I may when I'm eighteen perhaps, but
two years is an everlasting time to wait."
"I'm sure our pops look like silk, and they are nice enough for us. Yours is as good as
new, but I forgot the burn and the tear in mine. Whatever shall I do? The burn shows
badly, and I can't take any out."
"You must sit still all you can and keep your back out of sight. The front is all right. I
shall have a new ribbon for my hair, and Marmee will lend me her little pearl pin, and my
new slippers are lovely, and my gloves will do, though they aren't as nice as I'd like."
"Mine are spoiled with lemonade, and I can't get any new ones, so I shall have to go
without," said Jo, who never troubled herself much about dress.
"You must have gloves, or I won't go," cried Meg decidedly. "Gloves are more important
than anything else. You can't dance without them, and if you don't I should be so
mortified." "Then I'll stay still. I don't care much for company dancing. It's no fun to go
sailing round. I like to fly about and cut capers."
"You can't ask Mother for new ones, they are so expensive, and you are so careless. She
said when you spoiled the others that she shouldn't get you any more this winter. Can't
you make them do?"
"I can hold them crumpled up in my hand, so no one will know how stained they are.
That's all I can do. No! I'll tell you how we can manage, each wear one good one and
carry a bad one. Don't you see?"
"Your hands are bigger than mine, and you will stretch my glove dreadfully," began Meg,
whose gloves were a tender point with her.
"Then I'll go without. I don't care what people say!" cried Jo, taking up her book.