11 Plus

COMPREHENSION WEEK 29 Q10

Down the girls went, feeling a trifle timid, for they seldom went to parties, and informal as this little gathering was, it was an event for them. Mrs. Gardiner, a stately old lady, greeted them kindly and handed them over to the eldest of her six daughters. Meg knew Sallie and was at ease very soon, but Jo, who didn’t care much for girls or girlish gossip, stood about, with her back carefully against the wall, and felt as much out of place as a young horse in a flower garden. Half a dozen jolly lads were talking about skates in another part of the room, and she longed to go and join them, for skating was one of the joys of her life. She telegraphed her wish to Meg, but the eyebrows went up so alarmingly that she dared not move. No one came to talk to her, and one by one the group dwindled away till she was left alone. She could not roam about and amuse herself, so she stared at people rather forlornly till the dancing began. Meg was asked at once, and the tight slippers tripped about so briskly that none would have guessed the pain their wearer suffered smilingly. Jo saw a big red headed youth approaching her corner, and fearing he meant to engage her, so she slipped into a curtained recess, intending to peep and enjoy herself in peace. Unfortunately, another shy person had chosen the same refuge, for, as the curtain fell behind her, she found herself face to face with the ‘Laurence boy’.

“Dear me, I didn’t know anyone was here!” stammered Jo, preparing to back out as speedily as she had bounced in.

But the boy laughed and said pleasantly, though he looked a little startled, “Don’t mind me, stay if you like.”

 

Text adapted from Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, which is in the public domain.

 

How did the boy respond to Jo appearing in his hiding-place?