Little Men HTML version

7. Naughty Nan
"Fritz, I've got a new idea," cried Mrs. Bhaer, as she met her husband one day
after school.
"Well, my dear, what is it?" and he waited willingly to hear the new plan, for some
of Mrs. Jo's ideas were so droll, it was impossible to help laughing at them,
though usually they were quite sensible, and he was glad to carry them out.
"Daisy needs a companion, and the boys would be all the better for another girl
among them; you know we believe in bringing up little men and women together,
and it is high time we acted up to our belief. They pet and tyrannize over Daisy
by turns, and she is getting spoilt. Then they must learn gentle ways, and
improve their manners, and having girls about will do it better than any thing
"You are right, as usual. Now, who shall we have?" asked Mr. Bhaer, seeing by
the look in her eye that Mrs. Jo had some one all ready to propose.
"Little Annie Harding."
"What! Naughty Nan, as the lads call her?" cried Mr. Bhaer, looking very much
"Yes, she is running wild at home since her mother died, and is too bright a child
to be spoilt by servants. I have had my eye on her for some time, and when I met
her father in town the other day I asked him why he did not send her to school.
He said he would gladly if he could find as good a school for girls as ours was for
boys. I know he would rejoice to have her come; so suppose we drive over this
afternoon and see about it."
"Have not you cares enough now, my Jo, without this little gypsy to torment
you?" asked Mr. Bhaer, patting the hand that lay on his arm.
"Oh dear, no," said Mother Bhaer, briskly. "I like it, and never was happier than
since I had my wilderness of boys. You see, Fritz, I feel a great sympathy for
Nan, because I was such a naughty child myself that I know all about it. She is
full of spirits, and only needs to be taught what to do with them to be as nice a
little girl as Daisy. Those quick wits of hers would enjoy lessons if they were
rightly directed, and what is now a tricksy midget would soon become a busy,
happy child. I know how to manage her, for I remember how my blessed mother
managed me, and "
"And if you succeed half as well as she did, you will have done a magnificent
work," interrupted Mr. Bhaer, who labored under the delusion that Mrs. B. was
the best and most charming woman alive.
"Now, if you make fun of my plan I'll give you bad coffee for a week, and then
where are you, sir?" cried Mrs. Jo, tweaking him by the ear just as if he was one
of the boys.
"Won't Daisy's hair stand erect with horror at Nan's wild ways?" asked Mr. Bhaer,
presently, when Teddy had swarmed up his waistcoat, and Rob up his back, for
they always flew at their father the minute school was done.
"At first, perhaps, but it will do Posy good. She is getting prim and Bettyish, and
needs stirring up a bit. She always has a good time when Nan comes over to