The Borneo Post - Good English

A Child’s Biography


called out in the darkness: “Why—dat’s ME!”

The town crier took Louisa by the hand and led her home, where you may be sure she was welcomed with joy.

Mr. and Mrs. Alcott, from first to last, had had a good many frights about this flyaway Louisa. Once when she was only two years old they were traveling with her on a steamboat, and she darted away, in some moment when no one was noticing her, and crawled into the engine-room to watch the machinery. Of course her clothes were all grease and dirt, and she might have been caught in the machinery and hurt.

You won’t be surprised to know that the next day after this last affair Louisa’s parents made sure that she did not leave the house. Indeed, to be entirely certain of her where-abouts, they tied her to the leg of a big sofa for a whole day!

Except for this one fault, Louisa was a good child, so she felt much ashamed that she had caused her mother, whom she loved dearly, so much worry. As she sat there, tied to the sofa, she made up her mind that she would never frighten her so again. No—she would cure herself of the running-away habit!

After that day, whenever she felt the least desire to slip out of the house without asking permission, she would hurry to her own little room and shut the door tight. To keep her mind from bad plans she would shut her eyes and make up stories— think them all out, herself, you know. Then, when some of them seemed pretty good, she would write them down so that she would not forget them. By and by she found she liked making stories better than anything she had ever done in her life.

Her mother sometimes wondered why Louisa grew so fond of staying in her little chamber at the head of the stairs, all of a sudden, but was pleased that the runaway child had changed into such a quiet, like-to-stay-at-home girl.

It was a long time before Louisa dared to mention the stories and rhymes she had hidden in her desk but finally she told her mother about them, and when Mrs. Alcott had read them, she advised her to keep on writing. Louisa did so and became one of the best American story-tellers. She wrote a number of books, and if you begin with Lulu’s Library, you will want to read Little Men and Little Women and all the books that dear Louisa Alcott ever wrote.

At first Louisa was paid but small sums for her writings, and as the Alcott family were poor, she taught school, did sewing, took care of children, or worked at anything, always with a merry smile, so long as it provided comforts for those she loved.

When the Civil War broke out, she was anxious to do something to help, so she went into one of the Union hospitals as a nurse. She worked so hard that she grew very ill, and her father had to go after her and bring her home. One of her books tells about her life in the hospital.

It was soon after her return home that her books began to sell so well that she found herself, for the first time in her life, with a great deal of money. There was enough to buy luxuries for the Alcott family—there was enough for her to travel. No doubt she got more happiness in traveling than some people, for she found boys and girls in England, France, and Germany reading the very books she herself, Louisa May Alcott, had written.

Then, too, at the age of fifty, she enjoyed venturing into new places just as well as she did the morning she sallied forth to Boston Common in her new green shoes!

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