go about、fidgety、woo、dismay、tell on、elated with、prance、quaint、wicked、grim、gruff、sly、the dickens、redoubtable、triumphant、vivacity
“I think he would, if your mother asked him. He’s very kind, though he does not look so, and he lets me do what I like, pretty much, only he’s afraid I might be a bother to strangers,” began Laurie, brightening more and more.
“We are not strangers, we are neighbors, and you needn’t think you’d be a bother. We want to know you, and I’ve been trying to do it this ever so long. We haven’t been here a great while, you know, but we have got acquainted with all our neighbors but you.”
“You see, Grandpa lives among his books, and doesn’t mind much what happens outside. Mr. Brooke, my tutor, doesn’t stay here, you know, and I have no one to go about with me, so I just stop at home and get on as I can.”
“That’s bad. You ought to make an effort and go visiting everywhere you are asked, then you’ll have plenty of friends, and pleasant places to go to. Never mind being bashful. It won’t last long if you keep going.”
Laurie turned red again, but wasn’t offended at being accused of bashfulness, for there was so much good will in Jo it was impossible not to take her blunt speeches as kindly as they were meant.
“Do you like your school?” asked the boy, changing the subject, after a little pause, during which he stared at the fire and Jo looked about her, well pleased.
“Don’t go to school, I’m a businessman–girl, I mean. I go to wait on my great-aunt, and a dear, cross old soul she is, too,” answered Jo.
go about : 一緒に過ごす
Laurie opened his mouth to ask another question, but remembering just in time that it wasn’t manners to make too many inquiries into people’s affairs, he shut it again, and looked uncomfortable.
Jo liked his good breeding, and didn’t mind having a laugh at Aunt March, so she gave him a lively description of the fidgety old lady, her fat poodle, the parrot that talked Spanish, and the library where she reveled.
Laurie enjoyed that immensely, and when she told about the prim old gentleman who came once to woo Aunt March, and in the middle of a fine speech, how Poll had tweaked his wig off to his great dismay, the boy lay back and laughed till the tears ran down his cheeks, and a maid popped her head in to see what was the matter.
“Oh! That does me no end of good. Tell on, please,” he said, taking his face out of the sofa cushion, red and shining with merriment.
Much elated with her success, Jo did ‘tell on’, all about their plays and plans, their hopes and fears for Father, and the most interesting events of the little world in which the sisters lived. Then they got to talking about books, and to Jo’s delight, she found that Laurie loved them as well as she did, and had read even more than herself.
“If you like them so much, come down and see ours. Grandfather is out, so you needn’t be afraid,” said Laurie, getting up.
fidgety : 落ち着かない
woo : 求婚する
dismay : 失望
tell on : 体にひびく
elated with : 得意になる
“I’m not afraid of anything,” returned Jo, with a toss of the head.
“I don’t believe you are!” exclaimed the boy, looking at her with much admiration, though he privately thought she would have good reason to be a trifle afraid of the old gentleman, if she met him in some of his moods.
The atmosphere of the whole house being summerlike, Laurie led the way from room to room, letting Jo stop to examine whatever struck her fancy. And so, at last they came to the library, where she clapped her hands and pranced, as she always did when especially delighted. It was lined with books, and there were pictures and statues, and distracting little cabinets full of coins and curiosities, and Sleepy Hollow chairs, and queer tables, and bronzes, and best of all, a great open fireplace with quaint tiles all round it.
“What richness!” sighed Jo, sinking into the depth of a velour chair and gazing about her with an air of intense satisfaction. “Theodore Laurence, you ought to be the happiest boy in the world,” she added impressively.
“A fellow can’t live on books,” said Laurie, shaking his head as he perched on a table opposite.
Before he could more, a bell rang, and Jo flew up, exclaiming with alarm, “Mercy me! It’s your grandpa!”
prance : 飛び回る
quaint : 古風な
“Well, what if it is? You are not afraid of anything, you know,” returned the boy, looking wicked.
“I think I am a little bit afraid of him, but I don’t know why I should be. Marmee said I might come, and I don’t think you’re any the worse for it,” said Jo, composing herself, though she kept her eyes on the door.
“I’m a great deal better for it, and ever so much obliged. I’m only afraid you are very tired of talking to me. It was so pleasant, I couldn’t bear to stop,” said Laurie gratefully.
“The doctor to see you, sir,” and the maid beckoned as she spoke.
“Would you mind if I left you for a minute? I suppose I must see him,” said Laurie.
“Don’t mind me. I’m happy as a cricket here,” answered Jo.
Laurie went away, and his guest amused herself in her own way. She was standing before a fine portrait of the old gentleman when the door opened again, and without turning, she said decidedly, “I’m sure now that I shouldn’t be afraid of him, for he’s got kind eyes, though his mouth is grim, and he looks as if he had a tremendous will of his own. He isn’t as handsome as my grandfather, but I like him.”
wicked : 意地が悪い
grim : 厳しい
“Thank you, ma’am,” said a gruff voice behind her, and there, to her great dismay, stood old Mr. Laurence.
Poor Jo blushed till she couldn’t blush any redder, and her heart began to beat uncomfortably fast as she thought what she had said. For a minute a wild desire to run away possessed her, but that was cowardly, and the girls would laugh at her, so she resolved to stay and get out of the scrape as she could. A second look showed her that the living eyes, under the bushy eyebrows, were kinder even than the painted ones, and there was a sly twinkle in them, which lessened her fear a good deal. The gruff voice was gruffer than ever, as the old gentleman said abruptly, after the dreadful pause, “So you’re not afraid of me, hey?”
“Not much, sir.”
“And you don’t think me as handsome as your grandfather?”
“Not quite, sir.”
“And I’ve got a tremendous will, have I?”
“I only said I thought so.”
“But you like me in spite of it?”
“Yes, I do, sir.”
gruff : しわがれた声で
sly : 狡猾な
That answer pleased the old gentleman. He gave a short laugh, shook hands with her, and, putting his finger under her chin, turned up her face, examined it gravely, and let it go, saying with a nod, “You’ve got your grandfather’s spirit, if you haven’t his face. He was a fine man, my dear, but what is better, he was a brave and an honest one, and I was proud to be his friend.”
“Thank you, sir,” And Jo was quite comfortable after that, for it suited her exactly.
“What have you been doing to this boy of mine, hey?” was the next question, sharply put.
“Only trying to be neighborly, sir.” And Jo told how her visit came about.
“You think he needs cheering up a bit, do you?”
“Yes, sir, he seems a little lonely, and young folks would do him good perhaps. We are only girls, but we should be glad to help if we could, for we don’t forget the splendid Christmas present you sent us,” said Jo eagerly.
“Tut, tut, tut! That was the boy’s affair. How is the poor woman?”
“Doing nicely, sir.” And off went Jo, talking very fast, as she told all about the Hummels, in whom her mother had interested richer friends than they were.
“Just her father’s way of doing good. I shall come and see your mother some fine day. Tell her so. There’s the tea bell, we have it early on the boy’s account. Come down and go on being neighborly.”
“If you’d like to have me, sir.”
“Shouldn’t ask you, if I didn’t.” And Mr. Laurence offered her his arm with old-fashioned courtesy.
“What would Meg say to this?” thought Jo, as she was marched away, while her eyes danced with fun as she imagined herself telling the story at home.
“Hey! Why, what the dickens has come to the fellow?” said the old gentleman, as Laurie came running downstairs and brought up with a start of surprise at the astounding sight of Jo arm in arm with his redoubtable grandfather.
“I didn’t know you’d come, sir,” he began, as Jo gave him a triumphant little glance.
“That’s evident, by the way you racket downstairs. Come to your tea, sir, and behave like a gentleman.” And having pulled the boy’s hair by way of a caress, Mr. Laurence walked on, while Laurie went through a series of comic evolutions behind their backs, which nearly produced an explosion of laughter from Jo.
The old gentleman did not say much as he drank his four cups of tea, but he watched the young people, who soon chatted away like old friends, and the change in his grandson did not escape him. There was color, light, and life in the boy’s face now, vivacity in his manner, and genuine merriment in his laugh.
“She’s right, the lad is lonely. I’ll see what these little girls can do for him,” thought Mr. Laurence, as he looked and listened. He liked Jo, for her odd, blunt ways suited him, and she seemed to understand the boy almost as well as if she had been one herself.
the dickens : 一体全体
redoubtable : 手強い
triumphant : 勝ち誇った
vivacity : 陽気