32. CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO
"Hum!" said Jo, still intent upon her sister's face, for the
bright color faded as quickly as it came, the smile vanished, and
presently a tear lay shining on the window ledge. Beth whisked
it off, and in her half-averted face read a tender sorrow that
made her own eyes fill. Fearing to betray herself, she slipped
away, murmuring something about needing more paper.
"Mercy on me, Beth loves Laurie!" she said, sitting down in
her own room, pale with the shock of the discovery which she
believed she had just made. "I never dreamed of such a thing.
What will Mother say? I wonder if her..." there Jo stopped
and turned scarlet with a sudden thought. "If he shouldn't love
back again, how dreadful it would be. He must. I'll make him!"
And she shook her head threateningly at the picture of the mischievous-looking
boy laughing at her from the wall. "Oh dear, we are
growing up with a vengeance. Here's Meg married and a mamma,
Amy flourishing away at Paris, and Beth in love. I'm the only
one that has sense enough to keep out of mischief." Jo thought
intently for a minute with her eyes fixed on the picture, then
she smoothed out her wrinkled forehead and said, with a decided
nod at the face opposite, "No thank you, sir, you're very
charming, but you've no more stability than a weathercock. So
you needn't write touching notes and smile in that insinuating
way, for it won't do a bit of good, and I won't have it."