Louisa May Alcott: Jo's Boys

Chapter 3. JO'S LAST SCRAPE (continued)

'I told him so, ma'am; but he walked right in as bold as brass. I guess he's another crazy one, and I declare I'm 'most afraid of him, he's so big and black, and cool as cucumbers, though I will say he's good-looking,' added Mary, with a simper; for the stranger had evidently found favour in her sight despite his boldness.

'My day has been ruined, and I will have this last half-hour to finish. Tell him to go away; I won't go down,' cried Mrs Jo, fiercely.

Mary went; and listening, in spite of herself, her mistress heard first a murmur of voices, then a cry from Mary, and remembering the ways of reporters, also that her maid was both pretty and timid, Mrs Bhaer flung down her pen and went to the rescue. Descending with her most majestic air she demanded in an awe-inspiring voice, as she paused to survey the somewhat brigandish intruder, who seemed to be storming the staircase which Mary was gallantly defending:

'Who is this person who insists on remaining when I have declined to see him?'

'I'm sure I don't know, ma'am. He won't give no name, and says you'll be sorry if you don't see him,' answered Mary, retiring flushed and indignant from her post.

'Won't you be sorry?' asked the stranger, looking up with a pair of black eyes full of laughter, the flash of white teeth through a long beard, and both hands out as he boldly approached the irate lady.

Mrs Jo gave one keen look, for the voice was familiar; then completed Mary's bewilderment by throwing both arms round the brigand's neck, exclaiming joyfully: 'My dearest boy, where did you come from?'

'California, on purpose to see you, Mother Bhaer. Now won't you be sorry if I go away?' answered Dan, with a hearty kiss.

'To think of my ordering you out of the house when I've been longing to see you for a year,' laughed Mrs Jo, and she went down to have a good talk with her returned wanderer, who enjoyed the joke immensely.

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