29. CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE
"I am willing to work. It's for the freedmen as well as the
Chesters, and I think it very kind of them to let me share the
labor and the fun. Patronage does not trouble me when it is well
"Quite right and proper. I like your grateful spirit, my dear.
It's a pleasure to help people who appreciate our efforts. Some do
not, and that is trying," observed Aunt March, looking over her
spectacles at Jo, who sat apart, rocking herself, with a somewhat
If Jo had only known what a great happiness was wavering in
the balance for one of them, she would have turned dove-like in a
minute, but unfortunately, we don't have windows in our breasts,
and cannot see what goes on in the minds of our friends. Better
for us that we cannot as a general thing, but now and then it
would be such a comfort, such a saving of time and temper. By her
next speech, Jo deprived herself of several years of pleasure, and
received a timely lesson in the art of holding her tongue.
"I don't like favors, they oppress and make me feel like a
slave. I'd rather do everything for myself, and be perfectly
"Ahem!" coughed Aunt Carrol softly, with a look at Aunt March.
"I told you so," said Aunt March, with a decided nod to Aunt Carrol.
Mercifully unconscious of what she had done, Jo sat with her nose in
the air, and a revolutionary aspect which was anything but inviting.
"Do you speak French, dear?" asked Mrs. Carrol, laying a hand on Amy's.
"Pretty well, thanks to Aunt March, who lets Esther talk to
me as often as I like," replied amy, with a grateful look, which
caused the old lady to smile affably.
"How are you about languages?" asked Mrs. Carrol of JO.