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Being Neighborly

Brief story: Being Neighborly

This is a story of Jo March and Laurie Laurence. Jo tried to make friendship with Laurie and decided to behave like a good neighbour.

It’s a snowy day, and Jo March decided to go out and dig paths in the snow. She decided to make this path for her sister Beth March. She liked to walk on road carrying her dolls. Her dolls were not in a good condition but liked them very much.

The Marches’ house was small, brown and shabby. It was separated by a low hedge from Mr. Laurence’s large stone mansion. Jo saw Laurie sitting near one of the windows on the second floor. She felt sorry for the poor lonely boy. She threw a snowball at the window, grabbing Laurie’s attention.

Jo enquired Laurie about his absence. He admitted that he had been sick with a cold. He invited Jo to come over. Jo arrived soon after with an armful of offerings for Laurie: a plate of blanc- mange (a kind of custard) from Meg and kittens from Beth.

Jo straightened up Laurie’s quarters and offered to read out loud any book to Laurie. Laurie begged her to talk to him. Jo told him about her family. Laurie revealed that he sometimes spied on the March family, but Jo saw that he only did it because he was orphaned (his parents died when he was young, so he was now with his grandfather) and felt lonesome.

Laurie stepped out momentarily to see his doctor. Jo was standing before a fine portrait of the old gentleman when the door opened again and Mr. Laurence, Laurie’s Grandpa came in. Without turning, jo remarked that she shouldn’t be afraid of grandpa. She further added that grandpa got kind eyes, grim face and had a tremendous will of his own. She claimed that he wasn’t as handsome as her grandfather, but she liked him. Laurie’s Grandpa thanked her in a gruff voice.

Jo was surprised seeing him. Jo told him that she felt Laurie needed to spend more time around kids of his own age. Mr. Laurence realized that there might be some truth to what Jo had told him. Mr. Laurence assured to visit Jo’s family. He wanted to meet her mother. After that Jo left the place.


1) Josephine March:- The protagonist of the novel and second oldest March sister. Jo, who wants to be a writer, is based on Louisa May Alcott herself, which makes the story semi- autobiographical. Jo has a temper and a quick tongue, although she works hard to control both. She is a tomboy and reacts with impatience to many limitations placed on women and girls. 

2) Meg March:- The oldest March sister. She is responsible and kind. She has a small weakness for luxury and leisure but the greater part of her is she is gentle, loving and morally vigorous. 

3) Beth March:- The third March daughter. Beth is very quiet and very virtuous. She does nothing but tries to please others. She adores music and plays the piano very well. 

4) Amy March:- The youngest March girl. Amy is an artist who adores visual beauty and has a weakness for pretty possessions. She is given to fits of temper and vanity but she does attempts to improve herself. 

5) Laurie Laurence:- The rich boy who lives next door to the March family. Laurie, whose real name is Theodore Laurence. He is charming, clever and has a good heart.

6) Mr. Laurence:- Laurie’s grandfather and the Marches’ next – door neighbour. He seems gruff but he is loving and kind.

7) Marmee:- The March girls’ mother. Marmee is the moral role model for her girls. She counsels them through all of their problems and works hard. Her husband is at war.

8) Mr.March:- The March girls’ father and Marmee’s husband. He serves in the Union army as a chaplain.

9) The Hummels:- A family that lives near the Marches. The Hummels are poor and in bad health.

10) Aunt March:- A rich widow and one of the March girl’s aunts. Although irritated and difficult, she loves her nieces and wants the best for them.

Brief Story in Marathi: Being Neighborly

कथेचा सारांश:

तो एक हिमवर्षाव होत असलेला दिवस होता आणि जो ने बाहेर जाऊन बर्फात रस्ता शोधण्याचे ठरविले. मार्च कुटुंबाचे घर – एक लहान, तपकिरी, खराब झालेले घर होती. तेथिल वेलींची हिरवीगार पालवी उन्हाळ्यात वळून गेली होती. हे घर श्री लॉरेन्सच्या मोठ्या दगडी हवेलीपासून लहान कुंपणाद्वारे विभक्त झालेले होते.

दुसर्‍या मजल्यावरील एका खिडकीजवळ ज्यो ला लॉरी बसलेला दिसला. जो ला त्या गरीब एकाकी मुलाबद्दल वाईट वाटले. तिने लॉरीचे लक्ष वेधून घेण्यासाठी खिडकीजवळ एक स्नोबॉल फेकला. जो शी बोलतांना लॉरीने कबूल केले की तो थंडीने आजारी होता आणि त्याने जो ला घरी येण्याचे आमंत्रण दिले.

जो लॉरीच्या घरी जातांना त्याला खाद्य पदार्थ घेऊन आली. तो पदार्थ म्हणजे मेग ने बनवलेला ब्लँक-मॅंगेज (एक प्रकारचे कस्टर्ड) होता. सोबत तिने बेथच्या मांजरीचे पिल्लू ही नेले होते. जो ने लॉरीचे घर न्याहाळले आणि लॉरीला मोठ्याने पुस्तक वाचून दाखवण्याची ऑफर दिली. लॉरीने मात्र तिला गप्पा मारण्याची विनंती केली. जोने त्याला आपल्या कुटूंबाविषयी सांगितले.

लॉरीने प्रामाणिकपणे सांगून टाकले की तो कधीकधी मार्चच्या कुटूंबाची हेरगिरी करत राहतो. एकमेकांशी प्रेमाने राहणारे मार्च कुटुंब गुपचूप पाहणे हे लॉरीआवडते. जोने जाणून घेतले की केवळ अनाथ असल्यामुळे (आई वडील लहान असतानाच मरण पावले होते. म्हणूनच आता तो आजोबांसमवेत राहिला होता) आणि एकटे वाटले म्हणून तो हे करत होता.

लॉरी त्याच्या डॉक्टरला भेटण्यासाठी काही काळासाठी बाहेर पडला आणि जेव्हा तो गेला तेव्हा लॉरीचे आजोबा आले. त्यावेळी जो लॉरीच्या आजोबांचे पोट्रेट पहात होती. मागे न पहाता ती म्हणते की आजोबांचा चेहरा उग्र वाटत असला तरी त्यांचे डोळे प्रेमळ आहेत व त्यांच्यात दृढ इच्छा शक्ती आहे. ती पुढे म्हणते की ते जरी माझ्या आजोबांइतके देखणे नसले तरी मला ते आवडलेले आहेत. आजोबा तिचे आभार मानतात. त्यांना पाहून जो आश्चर्यचकित होते.

जो आजोबांना म्हणते की, तिला असे वाटते लॉरीला त्याच्या स्वत:च्या वयाच्या मुलांसोबत जास्त वेळ घालवणे आवश्यक आहे. श्री. लॉरेन्स यांना जाणवते की, जोने जे सांगितले ते सत्य आहे. ते जो ला सांगतात की एखाद्या दिवशी ते स्वत: श्रीमती मार्च ला (जो ची आई) भेटायला येतील. जो लॉरी व आजोबा यांचा निरोप घेऊन घरी जायला निघते.


pussy cat– easy going, lazy or inactive person आळशी व्यक्ती

groves– small group of trees छोटी बाग

hedge– a row of bushes झुडूपांचे कुंपण

frolicked– overplayed, behaved in a playful way आनंदाने खेळणे

invalid dolls– dolls with broken limbs हातपाय तुटलेल्या बाहुल्या

stately– impressive भव्य

betokening– a sign of something दर्शक खुण

conservatory– glass room for delicate plants नाजूक रोपांसाठी काचेचे घर

scandalizing– teasing, to cause somebody to feel shocked by doing unusual things भावना दुखवणे

wistfully– longingly आशाळभूतपणे

croaked out as hoarsely as a raven– uttered a low hoarse sound like raven bird कर्कश आवाज

listless– lacking energy उदासीन

a little gentleman– small aged polite person or boy of etiquettes शिष्टाचार असलेला व्यक्ती

colored up– blushed चेहऱ्याचा रंग बदलणे, ओशाळणे

To wait on– to serve the needs of someone एखाद्याच्या गरजा पूर्ण करणे

gruffy– Rough voice घोगरा आवाज

good breeding– good manners, polite and socially correct behaviour चांगली वर्तवणूक

pranced– to move about with quick, high steps वेगाने चालणे

Hollow chairs– large and deep armchairs मोठ्या आरामखुर्च्या

wicked– morally bad, evil, here mischievous दुष्टपणे, खोडकरपणे

affair– work, action येथे काम

Activity Sheet No.1

Q. Read the extract and complete the activities given below.

What in the world are you going to do now, Jo?” asked Meg one snowy afternoon, as her sister came tramping through the hall, in rubber boots, old sack, and hood, with a broom in one hand and a shovel in the other.  

“Going out for exercise,” answered Jo with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.  

“I should think two long walks this morning would have been enough! It’s cold and dull out, and I advise you to stay warm and dry by the fire, as I do,” said Meg with a shiver.  

“Never take advice! Can’t keep still all day, and not being a pussycat, I don’t like to doze by the fire. I like adventures, and I’m going to find some.”  

Meg went back to toast her feet and read Ivanhoe, and Jo began to dig paths with great energy. The snow was light, and with her broom she soon swept a path all-round the garden, for Beth to walk in when the sun came out and the invalid dolls needed air. Now, the garden separated the Marches’ house from that of Mr. Laurence. Both stood in a suburb of the city, which was still country like, with groves and lawns, large gardens, and quiet streets. A low hedge parted the two estates. On one side was an old, brown house, looking rather bare and shabby, robbed of the vines that in summer covered its walls and the flowers, which then surrounded it. On the other side was a stately stone mansion, plainly betokening every sort of comfort and luxury, from the big coach house and well–kept grounds to the conservatory and the glimpses of lovely things one caught between the rich curtains. Yet it seemed a lonely, lifeless sort of house, for no children frolicked on the lawn, no motherly face ever smiled at the windows, and few people went in and out, except the old gentleman and his grandson.  

To Jo’s lively fancy, this fine house seemed a kind of enchanted palace, full of splendors and delights which no one enjoyed. She had long wanted to behold these hidden glories, and to know the Laurence boy, who looked as if he would like to be known, if he only knew how to begin. Since the party, she had been more eager than ever, and had planned many ways of making friends with him, but he had not been seen lately, and Jo began to think he had gone away, when she one day spied a brown face at an upper window, looking wistfully down into their garden, where Beth and Amy were snow–balling one another.        

“That boy is suffering for society and fun,” she said to herself. “His grandpa does not know what’s good for him, and keeps him shut up all alone. He needs a party of jolly boys to play with, or somebody young and lively. I’ve a great mind to go over and tell the old gentleman so!”

A1. True or false     (2)

Rewrite the statements and state whether they are true or false.

1) The atmosphere was cold and dull.

2) The wall separated the Marchs’ house from that of Mr. Laurence.

3) Beth and Amy were playing the game of snow ball throwing.

4) Laurie was isolated and needed to be socialized.

A2. Describe   (2)

Describe the house of Mr. Laurence.

A3. Guess        (2)

“That boy is suffering for society and fun.” (Guess the meaning of this statement.)

A4. Personal Response   (2)

If you see someone lonely or sad you will——- (Complete the information)

A5. Language Study        (2)

1) A low hedge parted the two estates. 

(Choose the correct passive voice of this sentence)

i) The two estates parted a low hedge.         

ii) The two estates are parted by a low hedge.

iii) The two estates were parted by a low hedge  

iii) The two estates had been parted by a low hedge.

2) “Going out for exercise,” answered Jo with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.

(Choose and write the correct reported speech for this sentence)

i) Jo answered with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes that she was going out for exercise.

ii) Jo answered with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes that I was going out for exercise.

iii) Jo answered with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes that he was going out for exercise.

iv) Jo answered with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes that going out for exercise.

A6. Vocabulary       (2)

Match the words given in ‘A’ with their meanings given in ‘B’.

1) sacquea) dirty
2) dozeb) short jacket and hood
3) wistfullyc) sleep
4) shabbyd) longingly

See answer and more such useful activity sheets in the following book-

Activity Workbook for Std. XI English

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