37. CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN
"Why, you see, he hates to travel, and I hate to keep still,
so we each suit ourselves, and there is no trouble. I am often
with him, and he enjoys my adventures, while I like to feel that
someone is glad to see me when I get back from my wanderings. Dirty
old hole, isn't it?" he added, with a look of disgust as they drove
along the boulevard to the Place Napoleon in the old city.
"The dirt is picturesque, so I don't mind. The river and the
hills are delicious, and these glimpses of the narrow cross streets
are my delight. Now we shall have to wait for that procession to
pass. It's going to the Church of St. John."
While Laurie listlessly watched the procession of priests
under their canopies, white-veiled nuns bearing lighted tapers,
and some brotherhood in blue chanting as they walked, Amy watched
him, and felt a new sort of shyness steal over her, for he was
changed, and she could not find the merry-faced boy she left in
the moody-looking man beside her. He was handsomer than ever and
greatly improved, she thought, but now that the flush of pleasure
at meeting her was over, he looked tired and spiritless--not sick,
nor exactly unhappy, but older and graver than a year or two of
prosperous life should have made him. She couldn't understand it
and did not venture to ask questions, so she shook her head and
touched up her ponies, as the procession wound away across the
arches of the Paglioni bridge and vanished in the church.
"Que pensez-vous?" she said, airing her French, which had
improved in quantity, if not in quality, since she came abroad.
"That mademoiselle has made good use of her time, and the
result is charming," replied Laurie, bowing with his hand on
his heart and an admiring look.
She blushed with pleasure, but somehow the compliment did
not satisfy her like the blunt praises he used to give her at
home, when he promenaded round her on festival occasions, and
tole her she was `altogether jolly', with a hearty smile and an
approving pat on the head. She didn't like the new tone, for
though not blase, it sounded indifferent in spite of the look.