Chapter 5 Notes from Little Women

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Little Women Chapter 5

Jo goes out to shovel paths in the yard for Beth and her dolls. She looks over at the Laurence mansion, wishing she could go over. "'That boy [Laurie] is suffering for society and fun,' she said to herself. 'His grandpa does not know what's good for him, and keeps him shut up all alone. He needs a party of jolly boys to play with, or somebody young and lively....'" Chapter 5, pg. 55 She sees Laurie through one of the windows, studying, and she gets his attention by throwing a snowball. Laurie opens the window and asks Jo to come over. Laurie cleans himself up for Jo's visit, and Jo gets her mother's permission to go and bring over food and Beth's kittens. Laurie quickly straightens his parlor for her, and Jo sets about trying to amuse him. They talk about Jo's sisters. Laurie knows a great deal about them, having watched them from his window. He is envious of the family and the little things they do together, as he has no family except for his grandfather. Jo says they will never close the curtains again, so that he can continue to watch them. Jo tells him about their plays and games and says that he should come over and have fun with them now and then. Laurie gives Jo a tour of his house. When they are in the library, a maid comes in and tells Laurie the doctor has come to see him. Laurie leaves for a minute; Jo stares at a portrait of Laurie's grandfather. Jo starts talking to herself about the portrait being of a kind but willful man, not realizing that Mr. Laurence has entered the room. She is surprised, but then begins to tell the old man of how her visit came about. She tells him that Laurie needs cheering up. The tea bell rings. Mr. Laurence offers Jo his arm, and they go to tea. Laurie is surprised to see them arm in arm. Jo says that she will leave after tea, but Laurie has one more thing to show her. He brings her to the drawing room, where there is a grand piano. Laurie plays for her, and Mr. Laurence stands by the fire. Mr. Laurence asks Laurie to stop playing, saying that it is time for Jo to go home. Jo asks Laurie if she has been rude, but Laurie says that his grandfather doesn't like to hear him play -- he will tell her why another day.

Jo goes home and tells her family of the day's adventures She tells them that Laurie's father married a lady who was an Italian musician against his father's will, and that both Laurie's parents died when he was very young. Jo's sisters think that this is romantic. Beth says she is thinking about Pilgrim's Progress and how they must get past the Wicked Gate and up a steep hill to get to the Palace Beautiful. Maybe the Laurence house is the Palace Beautiful, she says.

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