Jo had never been quick to forgive, especially when it came to herself. That was why, as her pen paused on the papers of the novel that she was busily re-writing, she cursed her own wickedness far more avidly than she cursed Amy. She knew that it was her anger that had led to her sister almost dying that fateful day at the river, and that even her finest dreams and ambitions were insubstantial next to the life of her real, flesh and blood sister. That she should feel bitter when she found she could not quite remember how a certain scene of her novel had went the first time she wrote it, and could not find the energy to re-transcribe a bit of dialogue that had been fresh and exciting the first time through, was nothing short of a crime.
She told Laurie this one day, when she was sitting alone with him in her attic, not romping for once, but instead having one of those strange, intimate conferences that they sometimes found themselves engaged in when their play ceased for a little bit.
"It isn't something to tie yourself in knots over, Jo," Laurie said kindly, from his seat beside her. "You can love and forgive her without accepting gladly what she did."
"The problem is," said Jo, "Is that I don't think I can. If I tell you something queer just now, will you promise not to laugh at me?"
"On my honor."
"Whenever I think wicked thoughts, wicked things seem to happen," Jo said, looking up at him to see if he would scold her for being ridiculous.
He didn't, but he frowned as if concerned for her. "I think the problem is that, whenever something goes amiss, you find a way to blame yourself, even when there's no reason to. You can't make things happen just by thinking them."
"Oh, I know that. If I could Father would be home by now, and Marmee would be rich and content, for all of the good that I wish them. It's more that when I'm angry, I act without thinking… you know that's true! I've barked at you often enough, with little enough provocation. I don't feel anger at Amy any longer, except for when I take up this story. I begin to feel that I ought to burn it again myself."
Jo flushed at that moment, wondering if she ought to be telling her mother these things, rather than pouring all of her troubles out on Laurie, however willingly he might listen. She wondered, also, if Marmee might agree with her that the story should be disposed of. She knew that Laurie wouldn't, and that was part of the charm of speaking about this to him just now.
"Don't do that!" Laurie said so predictably that Jo had to smile. "Think of it this way - maybe this story will be better than the last, and once it's published and you've won heaps of awards, you'll feel so thankful towards Amy that you won't be able to feel angry at her ever again."
"I won't win any awards," Jo said, laughing despite herself.
"Won't you!" Laurie said, and since he was too young yet to remain serious and thoughtful for long, he snatched the manuscript from her lap, and began reading it dramatically.
"You stop that this instant!" Jo said, as Laurie leapt up to keep her from retrieving her writing. He was reading a conversation between the hero and the heroine of her story, and alternating voices for the different characters in a way that had Jo in stitches.
By the time Laurie handed the story back to her, with an order that she must write more so that he could have more to read, Jo did not feel angry in the least, but instead very grateful that she should be blessed not only with three healthy sisters, but also as dear a friend as sat beside her now.