Little Women HTML version
"Come, Jo, it's time."
"You don't mean to say you have forgotten that you promised to make half a dozen calls
with me today?"
"I've done a good many rash and foolish things in my life, but I don't think I ever was
mad enough to say I'd make six calls in one day, when a single one upsets me for a
"Yes, you did, it was a bargain between us. I was to finish the crayon of Beth for you, and
you were to go properly with me, and return our neighbors' visits."
"If it was fair, that was in the bond, and I stand to the letter of my bond, Shylock. There is
a pile of clouds in the east, it's not fair, and I don't go."
"Now, that's shirking. It's a lovely day, no prospect of rain, and you pride yourself on
keeping; promises, so be honorable, come and do your duty, and then be at peace for
another six months."
At that minute Jo was particularly absorbed in dressmaking, for she was mantua-maker
general to the family, and took especial credit to herself because she could use a needle as
well as a pen. It was very provoking to be arrested in the act of a first trying-on, and
ordered out to make calls in her best array on a warm July day. She hated calls of the
formal sort, and never made any till Amy compelled her with a bargain, bribe, or
promise. In the present instance there was no escape, and having clashed her scissors
rebelliously, while protesting that she smelled thunder, she gave in, put away her work,
and taking up her hat and gloves with an air of resignation, told Amy the victim was
"Jo March, you are perverse enough to provoke a saint! You don't intend to make calls in
that state, I hope," cried Amy, surveying her with amazement.
"Why not? I'm neat and cool and comfortable, quite proper for a dusty walk on a warm
day. If people care more for my clothes than they do for me, I don't wish to see them.
You can dress for both, and be as elegant as you please. It pays for you to be fine. It
doesn't for me, and furbelows only worry me."
"Oh, dear!" sighed Amy, "now she's in a contrary fit, and will drive me distracted before I
can get her properly ready. I'm sure it's no pleasure to me to go today, but it's a debt we
owe society, and there's no one to pay it but you and me. I'll do anything for you, Jo, if
you'll only dress yourself nicely, and come and help me do the civil. You can talk so
well, look so aristocratic in your best things, and behave so beautifully, if you try, that
I'm proud of you. I'm afraid to go alone, do come and take care of me."
"You're an artful little puss to flatter and wheedle your cross old sister in that way. The
idea of my being aristocratic and well-bred, and your being afraid to go anywhere alone!
I don't know which is the most absurd. Well, I'll go if I must, and do my best. You shall