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211
Castles in the Air.

twenty-four, and Amy twenty-two ; what a venerable party ! " said Jo.

" I hope I shall have done something to be proud of by that time ; but I'm such a lazy dog, I'm afraid I shall ' dawdle,' Jo."

" You need a motive, mother says ; and when you get it, she is sure you'll work splendidly."

" Is she? By Jupiter I will, if I only get the chance ! " cried Laurie, sitting up with sudden energy. " I ought to be satisfied to please grandfather, and I do try, but it's working against the grain, you see, and comes hard. He wants me to be an India merchant, as he was, and I'd rather be shot ; I hate tea, and silk, and spices, and every sort of rubbish his old ships bring, and I don't care how soon they go to the bottom when I own them. Going to college ought to satisfy him, for if I give him four years he ought to let me off from the business ; but he's set, and I've got to do just as he did, unless I break away and please myself, as my father did. If there was any one left to stay with the old gentleman, I'd do it to-morrow."

Laurie spoke excitedly, and looked ready to carry his threat into execution on the slightest provocation ; for he was growing up very fast, and, in spite of his indolent ways, had a young man's hatred of subjec- tion, — a young man's restless longing to try the world for himself.

" I advise you to sail away in one of your ships, and never come home again till you have tried your own way," said Jo, whose imagination was fired by the thought of such a daring exploit, and whose sympathy was excited by what she called "Teddy's wrongs."