14. CHAPTER FOURTEEN
Jo was very busy in the garret, for the October days began
to grow chilly, and the afternoons were short. For two or three
hours the sun lay warmly in the high window, showing Jo seated
on the old sofa, writing busily, with her papers spread out
upon a trunk before her, while Scrabble, the pet rat,
promenaded the beams overhead, accompanied by his oldest son,
a fine young fellow, who was evidently very proud of his whiskers.
Quite absorbed in her work, Jo scribbled away till the last page
was filled, when she signed her name with a flourish and threw
down her pen, exclaiming...
"There, I've done my best! If this won't suit I shall have
to wait till I can do better."
Lying back on the sofa, she read the manuscript carefully
through, making dashes here and there, and putting in many
exclamation points, which looked like little balloons. Then she
tied it up with a smart red ribbon, and sat a minute looking at
it with a sober, wistful expression, which plainly showed how
ernest her work had been. Jo's desk up here was an old tin
kitchen which hung against the wall. It it she kept her papers,
and a few books, safely shut away from Scrabble, who, being
likewise of a literary turn, was fond of making a circulating
library of such books as were left in his way by eating the
leaves. From this tin receptacle Jo produced another manuscript,
and putting both in her pocket, crept quietly downstairs, leaving
her friends to nibble on her pens and taste her ink.
She put on her hat and jacket as noiselessly as possible, and
going to the back entry window, got out upon the roof of a low
porch, swung herself down to the grassy bank, and took a roundabout
way to the road. Once there, she composed herself, hailed a passing
omnibus, and rolled away to town, looking very merry and mysterious.
If anyone had been watching her, he would have thought her
movements decidedly peculiar, for on alighting, she went off at a
great pace till she reached a certain number in a certain busy
street. Having found the place with some difficulty, she went
into the doorway, looked up the dirty stairs, and after standing
stock still a minute, suddenly dived into the street and walked
away as rapidly as she came. This maneuver she repeated several
times, to the great amusement of a black-eyed young gentleman
lounging in the window of a building opposite. On returning for
the third time, Jo gave herself a shake, pulled her hat over her
eyes, and walked up the stairs, looking as if she were going to
have all her teeth out.