5. CHAPTER FIVE
"What in the world are you going to do now, Jo." asked
Meg one snowy afternoon, as her sister came tramping through
the hall, in rubber boots, old sack, and hood, with a broom
in one hand and a shovel in the other.
"Going out for exercise," answered Jo with a mischievous
twinkle in her eyes.
"I should think two long walks this morning would have
been enough! It's cold and dull out, and I advise you to
stay warm and dry by the fire, as I do," said Meg with a
"Never take advice! Can't keep still all day, and not
being a pussycat, I don't like to doze by the fire. I like
adventures, and I'm going to find some."
Meg went back to toast her feet and read IVANHOE, and Jo
began to dig paths with great energy. The snow was light, and
with her broom she soon swept a path all round the garden, for
Beth to walk in when the sun came out and the invalid dolls
needed air. Now, the garden separated the Marches' house from
that of Mr. Laurence. Both stood in a suburb of the city, which
was still countrylike, with groves and lawns, large gardens, and
quiet streets. A low hedge parted the two estates. On one side
was an old, brown house, looking rather bare and shabby, robbed
of the vines that in summer covered its walls and the flowers,
which then surrounded it. On the other side was a stately stone
mansion, plainly betokening every sort of comfort and luxury, from
the big coach house and well-kept grounds to the conservatory and
the glimpses of lovely things one caught between the rich curtains.
Yet it seemed a lonely, lifeless sort of house, for no children
frolicked on the lawn, no motherly face ever smiled at the windows,
and few people went in and out, except the old gentleman and his