35. CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE
When the parting came he affected high spirits, to conceal
certain inconvenient emotions which seemed inclined to assert
themselves. This gaiety did not impose upon anybody, but they
tried to look as if it did for his sake, and he got on very well
till Mrs. March kissed him, whit a whisper full of motherly
solicitude. Then feeling that he was going very fast, he hastily
embraced them all round, not forgetting the afflicted Hannah, and
ran downstairs as if for his life. Jo followed a minute after to
wave her hand to him if he looked round. He did look round, came
back, put his arms about her as she stood on the step above him,
and looked up at her with a face that made his short appeal eloquent
"Oh, Jo, can't you?"
"Teddy, dear, I wish I could!"
That was all, except a little pause. Then Laurie straightened
himself up, said, "It's all right, never mind," and went away without
another word. Ah, but it wasn't all right, and Jo did mind, for
while the curly head lay on her arm a minute after her hard answer,
she felt as if she had stabbed her dearest friend, and when he left
her without a look behind him, she knew that the boy Laurie never
would come again.