affectionate, reverse, feeble, maternal, fumble, frizzle, petulantly, ruffle, relent, blithe, twirl, tiff, horrid, desperately, flirt, giggle, blunder, scandalize, masquerade
“You don’t look a bit like yourself, but you are very nice. I’m nowhere beside you, for Belle has heaps of taste, and you’re quite French, I assure you. Let your flowers hang, don’t be so careful of them, and be sure you don’t trip,” returned Sallie, trying not to care that Meg was prettier than herself.
Keeping that warning carefully in mind, Margaret got safely down stairs and sailed into the drawing rooms where the Moffats and a few early guests were assembled. She very soon discovered that there is a charm about fine clothes which attracts a certain class of people and secures their respect. Several young ladies, who had taken no notice of her before, were very affectionate all of a sudden. Several young gentlemen, who had only stared at her at the other party, now not only stared, but asked to be introduced, and said all manner of foolish but agreeable things to her, and several old ladies, who sat on the sofas, and criticized the rest of the party, inquired who she was with an air of interest. She heard Mrs. Moffat reply to one of them . . .
“Daisy March–father a colonel in the army–one of our first families, but reverses of fortune, you know; intimate friends of the Laurences; sweet creature, I assure you; my Ned is quite wild about her.”
“Dear me!” said the old lady, putting up her glass for another observation of Meg, who tried to look as if she had not heard and been rather shocked at Mrs. Moffat’s fibs. The ‘queer feeling’ did not pass away, but she imagined herself acting the new part of fine lady and so got on pretty well, though the tight dress gave her a side-ache, the train kept getting under her feet, and she was in constant fear lest her earrings should fly off and get lost or broken. She was flirting her fan and laughing at the feeble jokes of a young gentleman who tried to be witty, when she suddenly stopped laughing and looked confused, for just opposite, she saw Laurie. He was staring at her with undisguised surprise, and disapproval also, she thought, for though he bowed and smiled, yet something in his honest eyes made her blush and wish she had her old dress on. To complete her confusion, she saw Belle nudge Annie, and both glance from her to Laurie, who, she was happy to see, looked unusually boyish and shy.
affectionate : 優しい
reverse : 失敗
feeble : 弱い
“Silly creatures, to put such thoughts into my head. I won’t care for it, or let it change me a bit,” thought Meg, and rustled across the room to shake hands with her friend.
“I’m glad you came, I was afraid you wouldn’t.” she said, with her most grown-up air.
“Jo wanted me to come, and tell her how you looked, so I did,” answered Laurie, without turning his eyes upon her, though he half smiled at her maternal tone.
“What shall you tell her?” asked Meg, full of curiosity to know his opinion of her, yet feeling ill at ease with him for the first time.
“I shall say I didn’t know you, for you look so grown-up and unlike yourself, I’m quite afraid of you,” he said, fumbling at his glove button.
“How absurd of you! The girls dressed me up for fun, and I rather like it. Wouldn’t Jo stare if she saw me?” said Meg, bent on making him say whether he thought her improved or not.
“Yes, I think she would,” returned Laurie gravely.
“Don’t you like me so?” asked Meg.
“No, I don’t,” was the blunt reply.
“Why not?” in an anxious tone.
maternal : 母親らしい
fumble : 手探りする
He glanced at her frizzled head, bare shoulders, and fantastically trimmed dress with an expression that abashed her more than his answer, which had not a particle of his usual politeness in it.
“I don’t like fuss and feathers.”
That was altogether too much from a lad younger than herself, and Meg walked away, saying petulantly, “You are the rudest boy I ever saw.”
Feeling very much ruffled, she went and stood at a quiet window to cool her cheeks, for the tight dress gave her an uncomfortably brilliant color. As she stood there, Major Lincoln passed by, and a minute after she heard him saying to his mother . . .
“They are making a fool of that little girl. I wanted you to see her, but they have spoiled her entirely. She’s nothing but a doll tonight.”
“Oh, dear!” sighed Meg. “I wish I’d been sensible and worn my own things, then I should not have disgusted other people, or felt so uncomfortable and ashamed of myself.”
She leaned her forehead on the cool pane, and stood half hidden by the curtains, never minding that her favorite waltz had begun, till some one touched her, and turning, she saw Laurie, looking penitent, as he said, with his very best bow and his hand out . . .
“Please forgive my rudeness, and come and dance with me.”
“I’m afraid it will be too disagreeable to you,” said Meg, trying to look offended and failing entirely.
frizzle : 縮れる
petulantly : イライラと
ruffle : いらだつ
“Not a bit of it, I’m dying to do it. Come, I’ll be good. I don’t like your gown, but I do think you are just splendid.” And he waved his hands, as if words failed to express his admiration.
Meg smiled and relented, and whispered as they stood waiting to catch the time, “Take care my skirt doesn’t trip you up. It’s the plague of my life and I was a goose to wear it.”
“Pin it round your neck, and then it will be useful,” said Laurie, looking down at the little blue boots, which he evidently approved of.
Away they went fleetly and gracefully, for having practiced at home, they were well matched, and the blithe young couple were a pleasant sight to see, as they twirled merrily round and round, feeling more friendly than ever after their small tiff.
“Laurie, I want you to do me a favor, will you?” said Meg, as he stood fanning her when her breath gave out, which it did very soon though she would not own why.
“Won’t I!” said Laurie, with alacrity.
“Please don’t tell them at home about my dress tonight. They won’t understand the joke, and it will worry Mother.”
“Then why did you do it?” said Laurie’s eyes, so plainly that Meg hastily added . . .
“I shall tell them myself all about it, and ‘fess’ to Mother how silly I’ve been. But I’d rather do it myself. So you’ll not tell, will you?”
relent : 和らぐ
blithe : 陽気な
twirl : くるくる回る
tiff : ささいな喧嘩
“I give you my word I won’t, only what shall I say when they ask me?”
“Just say I looked pretty well and was having a good time.”
“I’ll say the first with all my heart, but how about the other? You don’t look as if you were having a good time. Are you?” And Laurie looked at her with an expression which made her answer in a whisper . . .
“No, not just now. Don’t think I’m horrid. I only wanted a little fun, but this sort doesn’t pay, I find, and I’m getting tired of it.”
“Here comes Ned Moffat. What does he want?” said Laurie, knitting his black brows as if he did not regard his young host in the light of a pleasant addition to the party.
“He put his name down for three dances, and I suppose he’s coming for them. What a bore!” said Meg, assuming a languid air which amused Laurie immensely.
He did not speak to her again till suppertime, when he saw her drinking champagne with Ned and his friend Fisher, who were behaving ‘like a pair of fools’, as Laurie said to himself, for he felt a brotherly sort of right to watch over the Marches and fight their battles whenever a defender was needed.
“You’ll have a splitting headache tomorrow, if you drink much of that. I wouldn’t, Meg, your mother doesn’t like it, you know,” he whispered, leaning over her chair, as Ned turned to refill her glass and Fisher stooped to pick up her fan.
horrid : ひどく不快な
“I’m not Meg tonight, I’m ‘a doll’ who does all sorts of crazy things. Tomorrow I shall put away my ‘fuss and feathers’ and be desperately good again,” she answered with an affected little laugh.
“Wish tomorrow was here, then,” muttered Laurie, walking off, ill-pleased at the change he saw in her.
Meg danced and flirted, chattered and giggled, as the other girls did. After supper she undertook the German, and blundered through it, nearly upsetting her partner with her long skirt, and romping in a way that scandalized Laurie, who looked on and meditated a lecture. But he got no chance to deliver it, for Meg kept away from him till he came to say good night.
“Remember!” she said, trying to smile, for the splitting headache had already begun.
“Silence a la mort,” replied Laurie, with a melodramatic flourish, as he went away.
This little bit of byplay excited Annie’s curiosity, but Meg was too tired for gossip and went to bed, feeling as if she had been to a masquerade and hadn’t enjoyed herself as much as she expected. She was sick all the next day, and on Saturday went home, quite used up with her fortnight’s fun and feeling that she had ‘sat in the lap of luxury’ long enough.
“It does seem pleasant to be quiet, and not have company manners on all the time. Home is a nice place, though it isn’t splendid,” said Meg, looking about her with a restful expression, as she sat with her mother and Jo on the Sunday evening.
desperately : 必死に
flirt : いちゃつく
giggle : クスクス笑う
blunder : 大失敗する
scandalize : あきれさせる
masquerade : 仮装パーティー