This week, my Intro to Children's Lit class has been reading Alcott's Little Women. As I was re-reading the book (for, uh, the zillionth time), I came across a passage I thought was especially appropriate for the month of Socktober. The passage is in the voice of the narrator, but from Laurie's point of view. He's just spied the March girls leaving their house for what he suspects is an expedition to which he hasn't been invited. So he follows them (bad boy), and comes upon this scene:
It was rather a pretty little picture: for the sisters sat together in the shady nook, with sun and shadow flickering over them,--the aromatic wind lifting their hair and cooling their hot cheeks,--and all the little wood-people going on with their affairs as if these were no strangers, but old friends. Meg sat upon her cushion, sewing daintily with her white hands, and looking as fresh and sweet as a rose, in her pink dress, among the green. Beth was sorting the cones that lay thick under the hemlock near by, for she made pretty things of them. Amy was sketching a group of ferns, and Jo was knitting as she read aloud. A shadow passed over the boy's face as he watched them, feeling that he ought to go, because uninvited; yet lingering because home seemed very lonely, and this quiet party in the woods most attractive to his restless spirit. He stood so still, that a squirrel, busy with its harvesting, ran down a pine close beside him, saw him suddenly, and skipped back, scolding so shrilly that Beth looked up, espied the wistful face behind the birches, and beckoned with a reassuring smile.
"May I come in, please? or shall I be a bother?" he asked, advancing slowly.
Meg lifted her eyebrows, but Jo scowled at her defiantly, and said, at once, "Of course you may. We should have asked you before, only we thought you wouldn't care for such a girl's game as this."
"I always like your games; but if Meg don't want me, I'll go away."
"I've no objection, if you do something; it's against the rule to be idle here," replied Meg, gravely, but graciously.
"Much obliged; I'll do anything if you'll let me stop a bit, for it's as dull as the desert of Sahara down there. Shall I sew, read, cone, draw, or do all at once? Bring on your bears; I'm ready," and Laurie sat down with a submissive expression delightful to behold.
"Finish this story while I set my heel," said Jo, handing him the book.
"Yes'm," was the meek answer, as he began, doing his best to prove his gratitude for the favor of an admission into the "Busy Bee Society." (115-16)
(The Busy Bee Society is the girls' attempt to avoid idleness over the summer holidays--in a previous chapter, the girls take a week "off" from their chores, with Marmee's approval, and must deal with the disasterous consequences). LW includes lots of descriptions of women's domestic work, but I guess I hadn't paid special attention to this particular one until I learned to knit socks.