11. CHAPTER ELEVEN
"No," said Jo, "that dozy way wouldn't suit me. I've laid
in a heap of books, and I'm going to improve my shining hours
reading on my perch in the old apple tree, when I'm not having
"Don't say `larks!'" implored Amy, as a return snub for the
"I'll say `nightingales' then, with Laurie. That's proper
and appropriate, since he's a warbler."
"Don't let us do any lessons, Beth, for a while, but play
all the time and rest, as the girls mean to," proposed Amy.
"Well, I will, if Mother doesn't mind. I want to learn some
new songs, and my children need fitting up for the summer. They
are dreadfully out of order and really suffering for clothes."
"May we, Mother?" asked Meg, turning to Mrs. March, who
sat sewing in what they called `Marmee's corner'.
"You may try your experiment for a week and see how you like
it. I think by Saturday night you will find that all play and no
work is as bad as all work and no play."
"Oh, dear, no! It will be delicious, I'm sure," said Meg
"I now propose a toast, as my `friend and pardner,
Sairy Gamp', says. Fun forever, and no grubbing!"
cried Jo, rising, glass in hand, as the lemonade went round.
They all drank it merrily, and began the experiment by
lounging for the rest of the day. Next morning, Meg did not
appear till ten o'clock. Her solitary breakfast did not taste
nice, and the room seemed lonely and untidy, for Jo had not
filled the vases, Beth had not dusted, and Amy's books lay
scattered about. Nothing was neat and pleasant but `Marmee's
corner', which looked as usual. And there Meg sat, to `rest and
read', which meant to yawn and imagine what pretty summer dresses
she would get with her salary. Jo spent the morning on the river
with Laurie and the afternoon reading and crying over The Wide,
Wide World, up in the apple tree. Beth began by rummaging everything
out of the big closet where her family resided, but getting
tired before half done, she left her establishment topsy-turvy
and went to her music, rejoicing that she had no dishes to wash.
Amy arranged her bower, put on her best white frock, smoothed her
curls, and sat down to draw under the honeysuckle, hoping someone
would see and inquire who the young artist was. As no one appeared
but an inquisitive daddy-longlegs, who examined her work with interest,
she went to walk, got caught in a shower, and came home dripping.