Little Women Chapter 7
Laurie rides past the girls on horseback and Amy wishes she had a little of the money he spent on his horse. She says she is in debt and doesn't have any money. Her sisters ask her what she means, and she says she owes some pickled limes and can't repay them. She says all the girls at school have them and trade them for things, and she has had many and hasn't repaid them. Meg gives her some money to buy them. The next day Amy comes to school with twenty-four limes. The other girls find out, and they all try to be her best friend to get some limes. Amy says to one girl who had made a mean comments about her nose before, "'You needn't be so polite all of a sudden, for you won't get any.'" So the girl informs the schoolteacher that Amy has limes in her desk.
Mr. Davis ,the schoolteacher, doesn't allow limes in school. He promised to punish the first person who broke the rule. He tells Amy to come up to the front and bring all of the limes, and he makes her throw them out the window. He tells her to hold out her hand, and he hits it several times, then makes her stand in front of the class until recess. All of this hurts Amy's pride very much. "During the fifteen minutes that followed, the proud and sensitive girl suffered a shame and pain which she never forgot. To others it might seem a ludicrous or trivial affair, but to her it was a hard experience, for during the twelve years of her life she had been governed by love alone...." Chapter 7, pg. 81 At recess, Amy gets her things and "left the place 'forever'". She tells her family, who know how hurt she is. Her mother agrees that Amy can study at home, like Beth, but she must be serious about it. Her mother disapproves of Mr. Davis hitting Amy, but tells her that she did break the rules about the limes. Her mother says she is not sorry that the limes are gone. Her mother tells Amy that she is too proud and needs to learn to be modest. Laurie, who is in the corner playing chess with Jo, says that Amy should try to be more like Beth. Jo lets Laurie win the game.
Amy asks her mother if Laurie is a good person, and if he is conceited. Her mother says that he is not and that is why everybody likes him. Amy says, "'I see. It's nice to have accomplishments and be elegant, but not to show off or get perked up.'" Jo says "'Any more than it's proper to wear all of your bonnets and gowns and ribbons at once, that folks may know you've got them.'" (p.84)