17. CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
Dr. Bangs came, said Beth had symptoms of the fever, but he thought
she would have it lightly, though he looked sober over the Hummel story.
Amy was ordered off at once, and provided with something to ward
off danger, she departed in great state, with Jo and Laurie as escort.
Aunt March received them with her usual hospitality.
"What do you want now?" she asked, looking sharply over her
spectacles, while the parrot, sitting on the back of her chair,
"Go away. No boys allowed here."
Laurie retired to the window, and Jo told her story.
"No more than I expected, if you are allowed to go poking
about among poor folks. Amy can stay and make herself useful
if she isn't sick, which I've no doubt she will be, looks like
it now. Don't cry, child, it worries me to hear people sniff."
Amy was on the point of crying, but Laurie slyly pulled the
parrot's tail, which caused Polly to utter an astonished croak and
call out, "Bless my boots!" in such a funny way, that she laughed
"What do you hear from your mother?" asked the old lady
"Father is much better," replied Jo, trying to keep sober.
"Oh, is her? Well, that won't last long, I fancy. March
never had any stamina," was the cheerful reply.
"Ha, ha! Never say die, take a pinch of snuff, goodbye, goodbye!"
squalled Polly, dancing on her perch, and clawing at the old
lady's cap as Laurie tweaked him in the rear.
"Hold your tongue, you disrespectful old bird! And, Jo, you'd
better go at once. It isn't proper to be gadding about so late with
a rattlepated boy like..."
"Hold your tongue, you disrespectful old bird!" cried Polly,
tumbling off the chair with a bounce, and running to peck the
`rattlepated' boy, who was shaking with laughter at the last speech.