`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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