Louisa May Alcott: Jo's Boys

Chapter 10. DEMI SETTLES

'Mother, can I have a little serious conversation with you?' asked Demi one evening, as they sat together enjoying the first fire of the season, while Daisy wrote letters upstairs and Josie was studying in the little library close by.

'Certainly, dear. No bad news, I hope?' and Mrs Meg looked up from her sewing with a mixture of pleasure and anxiety on her motherly face; for she dearly loved a good talk with her son, and knew that he always had something worth telling.

'It will be good news for you, I think,' answered Demi, smiling as he threw away his paper and went to sit beside her on the little sofa which just held two.

'Let me hear it, then, at once.'

'I know you don't like the reporting, and will be glad to hear that I have given it up.'

'I am very glad! It is too uncertain a business, and there is no prospect of getting on for a long time. I want you settled in some good place where you can stay, and in time make money. I wish you liked a profession; but as you don't, any clean, well-established business will do.'

'What do you say to a railroad office?'

'I don't like it. A noisy, hurried kind of place, I know, with all sorts of rough men about. I hope it isn't that, dear?'

'I could have it; but does book-keeping in a wholesale leather business please you better?'

'No; you'll get round-shouldered writing at a tall desk; and they say, once a book-keeper always a book-keeper.'

'How does a travelling agent suit your views?'

'Not at all; with all those dreadful accidents, and the exposure and bad food as you go from place to place, you are sure to get killed or lose your health.'

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