35. CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE
There was a long pause, while a blackbird sung blithely on
the willow by the river, and the tall grass rustled in the wind.
Presently Jo said very soberly, as she sat down on the step of
the stile, "Laurie, I want to tell you something."
He started as if he had been shot, threw up his head, and
cried out in a fierce tone, "Don't tell me that, Jo, I can't bear
"Tell what?" she asked, wondering at his violence.
"That you love that old man."
"What old man?" demanded Jo, thinking he must mean his
"That devilish Professor you were always writing about.
If you say you love him, I know I shall do something desperate."
And he looked as if he would keep his word, as he clenched
his hands with a wrathful spark in his eyes.
Jo wanted to laugh, but restrained herself and said warmly,
for she too, was getting excited with all this, "Don't swear,
Teddy! He isn't old, nor anything bad, but good and kind, and
the best friend I've got, next to you. Pray, don't fly into
a passion. I want to be kind, but I know I shall get angry if
you abuse my Professor. I haven't the least idea of loving
him or anybody else."
"But you will after a while, and then what will become of me?"
"You'll love someone else too, like a sensible boy, and
forget all this trouble."
"I can't love anyone else, and I'll never forget you, Jo,
Never! Never!" with a stamp to emphasize his passionate words.
"What shall I do with him?" sighed Jo, finding that emotions
were more unmanagable than she expected. "You haven't heard
what I wanted to tell you. Sit down and listen, for indeed I
want to do right and make you happy," she said, hoping to soothe
him with a little reason, which proved that she knew nothing