Little Women HTML version

Lazy Laurence
Laurie went to Nice intending to stay a week, and remained a month. He was tired of
wandering about alone, and Amy's familiar presence seemed to give a homelike charm to
the foreign scenes in which she bore a part. He rather missed the `petting' he used to
receive, and enjoyed a taste of it again, for no attentions, however flattering, from
strangers, were half so pleasant as the sisterly adoration of the girls at home. Amy never
would pet him like the others, but she was very glad to see him now, and quite clung to
him, feeling that he was the representative of the dear family for whom she longed more
than she would confess. They naturally took comfort in each other's society and were
much together, riding, walking, dancing, or dawdling, for at Nice no one can be very
industrious during the gay season. But, while apparently amusing themselves in the most
careless fashion, they were half-consciously making discoveries and forming opinions
about each other. Amy rose daily in the estimation of her friend, but he sank in hers, and
each felt the truth before a word was spoken. Amy tried to please, and succeeded, for she
was grateful for the many pleasures he gave her, and repaid him with the little services to
which womanly women know how to lend an indescribable charm. Laurie made no effort
of any kind, but just let himself drift along as comfortably as possible, trying to forget,
and feeling that all women owed him a kind word because one had been cold to him. It
cost him no effort to be generous, and he would have given Amy all the trinkets in Nice if
she would have taken them, but at the same time he felt that he could not change the
opinion she was forming of him, and he rather dreaded the keen blue eyes that seemed to
watch him with such half-sorrowful, half-scornful surprise.
"All the rest have gone to Monaco for the day. I preferred to stay at home and write
letters. They are done now, and I am going to Valrosa to sketch, will you come?' said
Amy, as she joined Laurie one lovely day when he lounged in as usual about noon.
"Well, yes, but isn't it rather warm for such a long walk?" he answered slowly, for the
shaded salon looked inviting after the glare without.
"I'm going to have the little carriage, and Baptiste can drive, so you'll have nothing to do
but hold your umbrella, and keep your gloves nice," returned Amy, with a sarcastic
glance at the immaculate kids, which were a weak point with Laurie.
"Then I'll go with pleasure." And he put out his hand for her sketchbook. But she tucked
it under her arm with a sharp...
"Don't trouble yourself. It's no exertion to me, but you don't look equal to it."
Laurie lifted his eyebrows and followed at a leisurely pace as she ran downstairs, but
when they got into the carriage he took the reins himself, and left little Baptiste nothing
to do but fold his arms and fall asleep on his perch.
The two never quarreled. Amy was too well-bred, and just now Laurie was too lazy, so in
a minute he peeped under her hat-brim with an inquiring air. She answered him with a
smile, and they went on together in the most amicable manner.
It was a lovely drive, along winding roads rich in the picturesque scenes that delight
beauty-loving eyes. Here an ancient monastery, whence the solemn chanting of the
monks came down to them. There a bare-legged shepherd, in wooden shoes, pointed hat,
and rough jacket over one shoulder, sat piping on a stone while his goats skipped among