`I'll be a double-distilled saint.'
`I can't bear saints; just be a simple, honest, respectable boy, and we'll never desert you. I don't know what I should do if you acted like Mr. King's son; he had plenty of money, but didn't know how to spend it, and got tipsy, and gambled, and ran away, and forged his father's name, I believe, and was altogether horrid.'
`You think I'm likely to do the same? Much obliged.'
`No, I don't - oh, dear, no! - but I hear people talking about money being such a temptation, and I sometimes wish you were poor; I shouldn't worry then.'
`Do you worry about me, Jo?'
`A little, when you look moody or discontented, as you sometimes do; for you've got such a strong will, if you once get started wrong, I'm afraid it would be hard to stop you.'
Laurie walked in silence for a few minutes, and Jo watched him, wishing she had held her tongue, for his eyes looked angry though his lips still smiled as if at her warnings.
`Are you going to deliver lectures all the way home?' he asked presently.
`Of course not; why?'
`Because, if you are, I'll take a bus; if you are not, I'd like to walk with you, and tell you something very interesting.'
`I won't preach any more, and I'd like to hear the news immensely.'
`Very well, then; come on. It's a secret, and if I tell you, you must tell me yours.'
`I haven't got any,' began Jo, but stopped suddenly, remembering that she had.
`You know you have you can't hide anything; so up and 'fess, or I won't tell,' cried Laurie.
`Is your secret a nice one?'
`Oh, isn't it! all about people you know, and such fun! You ought to hear it, and I've been aching to tell it this long time. Come, you begin.'
`You'll not say anything about it at home, will you?'
`Not a word.'
`And you won't tease me in private?'
`I never tease.'
`Yes, you do; you get everything you want out of people. I don't know how you do it, but you are a born wheedler.'
`Thank you; fire away.'
`Well, I've left two stories with a newspaper man, and he's to give his answer next week,' whispered Jo, in her confidant's ear.
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