Page:Little Women.djvu/324

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312
Little Women.

the contrary. She obediently descended, and made as light of the prank as she could without betraying Meg, or forgetting the truth.

" Hum ! ha ! well, if the boy held his tongue because he'd promised, and not from obstinacy, I'll forgive him. He's a stubborn fellow, and hard to manage," said Mr. Laurence, rubbing up his hair till it looked as if he'd been out in a gale, and smoothing the frown from his brow with an air of relief.

"So am I ; but a kind word will govern me when all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't," said Jo, trying to say a kind word for her friend, who seemed to get out of one scrape only to fall into another.

"You think I'm not kind to him, hey?" was the sharp answer.

" Oh, dear, no, sir ; you are rather too kind some- times, and then just a trifle hasty when he tries your patience. Don't you think you are ? "

Jo was determined to have it out now, and tried to look quite placid, though she quaked a little after her bold speech. To her great relief and surprise, the old gentleman only threw his spectacles on to the table with a rattle, and exclaimed, frankly, —

^'You're right, girl, I am I I love the boy, but' he tries my patience past bearing, and I don't know how it will end, if we go on so."

" I'll tell you, — he'll run away." Jo was sorry for that speech the minute it was made ; she meant to warn him that Laurie would not bear much restraint, and hoped he would be more forbearing with the lad.

Mr. Laurence's ruddy face changed suddenly, and he sat down with a troubled glance at the picture of