Saturday, May 19, 2018

My Victorian Year #20

I finished The Struggles of Brown, Jones, and Robinson by Anthony Trollope. I started the next Trollope book, Rachel Ray.

I also continued reading Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. 

Quotes from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott:
Amy was having hard times at Aunt March’s. She felt her exile deeply, and for the first time in her life, realized how much she was beloved and petted at home. Aunt March never petted any one; she did not approve of it, but she meant to be kind, for the well-behaved little girl pleased her very much, and Aunt March had a soft place in her old heart for her nephew’s children, though she didn’t think it proper to confess it.
Finding the child more docile and amiable than her sister, the old lady felt it her duty to try and counteract, as far as possible, the bad effects of home freedom and indulgence. So she took Amy by the hand, and taught her as she herself had been taught sixty years ago, a process which carried dismay to Amy’s soul, and made her feel like a fly in the web of a very strict spider.
The evenings were the worst of all, for Aunt March fell to telling long stories about her youth, which were so unutterably dull that Amy was always ready to go to bed, intending to cry over her hard fate, but usually going to sleep before she had squeezed out more than a tear or two.
“I’ve thought a great deal lately about my ‘bundle of naughties,’ and being selfish is the largest one in it, so I’m going to try hard to cure it, if I can. Beth isn’t selfish, and that’s the reason everyone loves her and feels so bad at the thoughts of losing her.
“Do you think Meg cares for him?” asked Mrs. March, with an anxious look. “Mercy me! I don’t know anything about love and such nonsense!” cried Jo, with a funny mixture of interest and contempt. “In novels, the girls show it by starting and blushing, fainting away, growing thin, and acting like fools.
“I did wrong to sigh, Jo. It is natural and right you should all go to homes of your own in time, but I do want to keep my girls as long as I can, and I am sorry that this happened so soon, for Meg is only seventeen and it will be some years before John can make a home for her. Your father and I have agreed that she shall not bind herself in any way, nor be married, before twenty.
Now and then, in this workaday world, things do happen in the delightful storybook fashion, and what a comfort it is.
There never was such a Christmas dinner as they had that day. The fat turkey was a sight to behold, when Hannah sent him up, stuffed, browned, and decorated. So was the plum pudding, which melted in one’s mouth, likewise the jellies, in which Amy reveled like a fly in a honeypot.
“Rather a rough road for you to travel, my little pilgrims, especially the latter part of it. But you have got on bravely, and I think the burdens are in a fair way to tumble off very soon,” said Mr. March, looking with fatherly satisfaction at the four young faces gathered round him.

“I’ll wait, and in the meantime, you could be learning to like me. Would it be a very hard lesson, dear?” “Not if I chose to learn it, but. . .” “Please choose to learn, Meg. I love to teach, and this is easier than German,” broke in John, getting possession of the other hand, so that she had no way of hiding her face as he bent to look into it.

“Oh, do somebody go down quick! John Brooke is acting dreadfully, and Meg likes it!”
“In most families there comes, now and then, a year full of events. This has been such a one, but it ends well, after all.”
“It can never be the same again. I’ve lost my dearest friend,” sighed Jo. “You’ve got me, anyhow. I’m not good for much, I know, but I’ll stand by you, Jo, all the days of my life. Upon my word I will!” and Laurie meant what he said.
 Don’t you wish you could take a look forward and see where we shall all be then? I do,” returned Laurie. “I think not, for I might see something sad, and everyone looks so happy now, I don’t believe they could be much improved.”
The girls gave their hearts into their mother’s keeping, their souls into their father’s, and to both parents, who lived and labored so faithfully for them, they gave a love that grew with their growth and bound them tenderly together by the sweetest tie which blesses life and outlives death.
 “I don’t want a fashionable wedding, but only those about me whom I love, and to them I wish to look and be my familiar self.”
So she made her wedding gown herself, sewing into it the tender hopes and innocent romances of a girlish heart. Her sisters braided up her pretty hair, and the only ornaments she wore were the lilies of the valley, which “her John” liked best of all the flowers that grew.
“Then I am satisfied. But please hug and kiss me, everyone, and don’t mind my dress. I want a great many crumples of this sort put into it today,” and Meg opened her arms to her sisters, who clung about her with April faces for a minute, feeling that the new love had not changed the old.
© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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