Little Women HTML version
Laurie Makes Mischief, and Jo Makes Peace
Jo's face was a study next day, for the secret rather weighed upon her, and she found it
hard not to look mysterious and important. Meg observed it, but did not trouble herself to
make inquiries, for she had learned that the best way to manage Jo was by the law of
contraries, so she felt sure of being told everything if she did not ask. She was rather
surprised, therefore, when the silence remained unbroken, and Jo assumed a patronizing
air, which decidedly aggravated Meg, who in turn assumed an air of dignified reserve and
devoted herself to her mother. This left Jo to her own devices, for Mrs. March had taken
her place as nurse, and bade her rest, exercise, and amuse herself after her long
confinement. Amy being gone, Laurie was her only refuge, and much as she enjoyed his
society, she rather dreaded him just then, for he was an incorrigible tease, and she feared
he would coax the secret from her.
She was quite right, for the mischief-loving lad no sooner suspected a mystery than he set
himself to find it out, and led Jo a trying life of it. He wheedled, bribed, ridiculed,
threatened, and scolded; affected indifference, that he might surprise the truth from her;
declared her knew, then that he didn't care; and at last, by dint of perseverance, he
satisfied himself that it concerned Meg and Mr. Brooke. Feeling indignant that he was not
taken into his tutor's confidence, he set his wits to work to devise some proper retaliation
for the slight.
Meg meanwhile had apparently forgotten the matter and was absorbed in preparations for
her father's return, but all of a sudden a change seemed to come over her, and, for a day
or two, she was quite unlike herself. She started when spoken to, blushed when looked at,
was very quiet, and sat over her sewing, with a timid, troubled look on her face. To her
mother's inquiries she answered that she was quite well, and Jo's she silenced by begging
to be let alone.
"She feels it in the air--love, I mean--and she's going very fast. She's got most of the
symptoms--is twittery and cross, doesn't eat, lies awake, and mopes in corners. I caught
her singing that song he gave her, and once she said `John', as you do, and then turned as
red as a poppy. whatever shall we do?" said Jo, looking ready for any measures, however
"Nothing but wait. Let her alone, be kind and patient, and Father's coming will settle
everything," replied her mother.
"Here's a note to you, Meg, all sealed up. How odd! Teddy never seals mine," said Jo
next day, as she distributed the contents of the little post office.
Mrs. March and Jo were deep in their own affairs, when a sound from Meg made them
look up to see her staring at her note with a frightened face.
"My child, what is it?" cried her mother, running to her, while Jo tried to take the paper
which had done the mischief.
"It's all a mistake, he didn't send it. Oh, Jo, how could you do it?" and Meg hid her face in
her hands, crying as if her heart were quite broken.
"Me! I've done nothing! What's she talking about?" cried Jo, bewildered.