39. CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE
"With all the pleasure in life. How will you have me, full
length or three-quarters, on my head or my heels? I should
respectfully suggest a recumbent posture, then put yourself
in also and call it `Dolce far niente'."
"Stay as you are, and go to sleep if you like. I intend to
work hard," said Amy in her most energetic tone.
"What delightful enthusiasm!" And he leaned against a tall
urn with an ir of entire satisfaction.
"What would Jo say if she saw you now?" asked Amy impatiently,
hoping to stir him up by the mention of her still more
energetic sister's name.
"As usual, `Go away, Teddy. I'm busy!'" He laughed as he
spoke, but the laugh was not natural, and a shade passed over
his face, for the utterance of the familiar name touched the
wound that was not healed yet. Both tone and shadow struck Amy,
for she had seen and heard them before, and now she looked up
in time to catch a new expression on Laurie's face--a hard bitter
look, full of pain, dissatisfaction, and regret. It was gone before
she could study it and the listless expression back again.
She watched him for a moment with artistic pleasure, thinking
how like an Italian he looked, as he lay basking in the sun
with uncovered head and eyes full of southern dreaminess, for
he seemed to have forgotten her and fallen into a reverie.
"You look like the effigy of a young knight asleep on his
tomb," she said, carefully tracing the well-cut profile defined
against the dark stone.
"Wish I was!"
"That's a foolish wish, unless you have spoiled your life.
You are so changed, I sometimes think--" There Amy stopped,
with a half-timid, half-wistful look, more significant than her
Laurie saw and understood the affectionate anxiety which
she hesitated to express, and looking straight into her eyes,
said, just as he used to say it to her mother, "It's all right, ma'am."