Amy's Valley of Humiliation
"That boy is a perfect Cyclops, isn't he?" said Amy one day, as Laurie clattered by on
horseback, with a flourish of his whip as he passed.
"How dare you say so, when he's got both his eyes? And very handsome ones they are,
too," cried Jo, who resented any slighting remarks about her friend.
"I didn't day anything about his eyes, and I don't see why you need fire up when I admire
"Oh, my goodness! That little goose means a centaur, and she called him a Cyclops,"
exclaimed Jo, with a burst of laughter. "You needn't be so rude, it's only a 'lapse of lingy',
as Mr. Davis says," retorted Amy, finishing Jo with her Latin. "I just wish I had a little of
the money Laurie spends on that horse," she added, as if to herself, yet hoping her sisters
"Why?" asked Meg kindly, for Jo had gone off in another laugh at Amy's second blunder.
"I need it so much. I'm dreadfully in debt, and it won't be my turn to have the rag money
for a month."
"In debt, Amy? What do you mean?" And Meg looked sober.
"Why, I owe at least a dozen pickled limes, and I can't pay them, you know, till I have
money, for Marmee forbade my having anything charged at the shop."
"Tell me all about it. Are limes the fashion now? It used to be pricking bits of rubber to
make balls." And Meg tried to keep her countenance, Amy looked so grave and
"Why, you see, the girls are always buying them, and unless you want to be thought
mean, you must do it too. It's nothing but limes now, for everyone is sucking them in
their desks in school time, and trading them off for pencils, bead rings, paper dolls, or
something else, at recess. If one girl likes another, she gives her a lime. If she's mad with
her, she eats one before her face, and doesn't offer even a suck. They treat by turns, and
I've had ever so many but haven't returned them, and I ought for they are debts of honor,
"How much will pay them off and restore your credit?" asked Meg, taking out her purse."
"A quarter would more than do it, and leave a few cents over for a treat for you. Don't
you like limes?"
"Not much. You may have my share. Here's the money. Make it last as long as you can,
for it isn't very plenty, you know."
"Oh, thank you! It must be so nice to have pocket money! I'll have a grand feast, for I
haven't tasted a lime this week. I felt delicate about taking any, as I couldn't return them,
and I'm actually suffering for one."