15. CHAPTER FIFTEEN
The short afternoon wore away. All other errands were done,
and Meg and her mother busy at some necessary needlework, while
Beth and Amy goth tea, and Hannah finished her ironing with what
she called a `slap and a bang', but still Jo did not come. They
began to get anxious, and Laurie went off to find her, for no one
knew what freak Jo might take into her head. He missed her,
however, and she came walking in with a very queer expression of
countenance, for there was a mixture of fun and fear, satisfaction
and regret in it, which puzzled the family as much as did the roll
of bills she laid before her mother, saying with a little choke in
her voice, "That's my contribution toward making Father comfortable
and bringing him home!"
"My dear, where did you get it? Twenty-five dollars! Jo, I
hope you haven't done anything rash?"
"No, it's mine honestly. I didn't beg, borrow, or steal it. I
earned it, and I don't think you'll blame me, for I only sold what
was my own."
As she spoke, Jo took off her bonnet, and a general outcry arose,
for all her abundant hair was cut short.
"Your hair! Your beautiful hair!" "Oh, Jo, how could you? Your
one beauty." "My dear girl, there was no need of this." "She doesn't
look like my Jo any more, but I love her dearly for it!"
As everyone exclaimed, and Beth hugged the cropped head tenderly,
Jo assumed an indifferent air, which did not deceive anyone a particle,
and said, rumpling up the brown bush and trying to look as if she liked
it, "It doesn't affect the fate of the nation, so don't wail, Beth. It
will be good for my vanity, I getting too proud of my wig. It will do
my brains good to have that mop taken off. My head feels deliciously
light and cool, and the barber said I could soon have a curly crop,
which will be boyish, becoming, and easy to keep in order. I'm satisfied,
so please take the money and let's have supper."