Louisa May Alcott: Jo's Boys

Chapter 4. DAN (continued)

'But if you marry and settle somewhere, as I hope you will, you must have something to begin with, my son. So be prudent and invest your money; don't give it away, for rainy days come to all of us, and dependence would be very hard for you to bear,' answered Mrs Jo with a sage air, though she liked to see that the money-making fever had not seized her lucky boy yet.

Dan shook his head, and glanced about the room as if he already found it rather confined and longed for all out-of-doors again.

'Who would marry a jack-o'-lantern like me? Women like a steady-going man; I shall never be that.'

'My dear boy, when I was a girl I liked just such adventurous fellows as you are. Anything fresh and daring, free and romantic, is always attractive to us womenfolk. Don't be discouraged; you'll find an anchor some day, and be content to take shorter voyages and bring home a good cargo.'

'What should you say if I brought you an Indian squaw some day?' asked Dan, with a glimmer of mischief in the eyes that rested on a marble bust of Galatea gleaming white and lovely in the corner.

'Welcome her heartily, if she was a good one. Is there a prospect of it?' and Mrs Jo peered at him with the interest which even literary ladies take in love affairs.

'Not at present, thank you. I'm too busy "to gallivant", as Ted calls it. How is the boy?' asked Dan, skilfully turning the conversation, as if he had had enough of sentiment.

Mrs Jo was off at once, and expatiated upon the talents and virtues of her sons till they came bursting in and fell upon Dan like two affectionate young bears, finding a vent for their joyful emotions in a sort of friendly wrestling-match; in which both got worsted, of course, for the hunter soon settled them. The Professor followed, and tongues went like mill-clappers while Mary lighted up and cook devoted herself to an unusually good supper, instinctively divining that this guest was a welcome one.

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