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Little Women

Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women Chapter 31 Summary

Our Foreign Correspondent

  • This chapter consists of some of Amy's letters home to her family from Europe.
  • The first letter is written from London. Amy, along with her Aunt and Uncle Carrol and her cousin Flo, is staying at a hotel in Piccadilly.
  • Amy says that she had a pretty good time on board ship on the way to London, after she got over her first seasickness. Her aunt and cousin were seasick most of the time, so she spent a lot of time alone on deck watching the waves.
  • Their ship docked on the coast of Ireland, which was beautiful. One of the men Amy met on board ship, Mr. Lennox, recited a limerick for her before he left.
  • The ship went on to Liverpool for a few hours, where Uncle Carrol bought the right accessories and got the right haircut to make him look British – or at least that's what he thinks.
  • Also at Liverpool, one of Mr. Lennox's friends brought Amy a bouquet from him.
  • Amy and her family traveled across the country from Liverpool to London. The journey was really picturesque; Amy and Flo were excited about everything, Uncle Carrol calmly read his guidebook, and Aunt Carrol went to sleep.
  • When they arrived in London, it was raining. The first thing Aunt Carrol did was to buy Amy some nice clothes.
  • While Aunt and Uncle Carrol took a nap in their hotel room, Amy and Flo went for a ride in a hansom cab, although later they found out that they had behaved improperly. The cab driver would only go really fast or really slow.
  • Most recently, the family went to Hyde Park, an extremely fashionable park in an upper-class part of London. They did some fun people-watching and saw a lot of aristocrats.
  • They also went along a fancy boulevard called "Rotten Row," which is a corruption of the "Route de Roi" or "Way of the King." Many people were riding, and Amy thought it was funny to see English-style riding instead of the American-style.
  • In the evening, they went to Westminster Abbey. Amy doesn't try to describe it because it was too fantastic.
  • That's the end of the first letter, but then Amy adds a P.S. to say that Laurie's English friends, the twins Fred and Frank Vaughn, came to see her. She and Fred, who is quite handsome now, talked about old times.
  • Amy's second letter is written from Paris some time later. She refers to other letters from London that aren't included in the novel, reminding her family about sightseeing trips that she went on with Fred and Frank Vaughn. Fred, she says, was especially nice.
  • Now Amy and her aunt, uncle, and cousin are in Paris, and Fred has turned up there to visit them! At first Amy's aunt disapproved of his obvious romantic interest, but now they're glad he's there, because he's the only one of them who can speak French.
  • Amy is enjoying sightseeing in Paris, especially the art in the Louvre and the relics of famous people.
  • Amy's also admiring the jewelry that she sees. Fred wants to buy her some, but she won't let him.
  • Amy describes walks in the famous garden, the Jardin des Tuileries, and the view from her hotel window. She says Fred is with them a lot, and that he's very entertaining and has great manners.
  • Next week, Amy says, they are going to Germany and Switzerland, and she won't be able to write as many letters because they'll be moving around. That's the end of this letter.
  • The next letter is written from Heidelberg, in Germany, and addressed just to Mrs. March. Amy begins by saying that she has a little time before they go to Berne, in Switzerland, and needs to tell her mother what has happened.
  • One night, Amy says, they went sailing up the Rhine in the moonlight with Fred. It was beautiful, and a group of students they met serenaded her and her cousin. That night, after they came home, Fred and the students serenaded them again under their windows. It was very romantic, and they threw flowers down to the men.
  • The next day, Fred showed Amy a flower he was keeping in his pocket. She said that Flo had thrown it, and he threw it away, but she's starting to realize that he's interested in her.
  • Amy tells her mother that she never realized Fred was interested in her, and she hasn't really fallen in love with him. However, she's decided that, if he asks her to marry him, she will say yes.
  • Amy tells her mother all Fred's advantages: he's handsome and wealthy and smart, he loves her, and his family like her. Isn't that enough?
  • Amy writes that someone in the family has to marry well – Meg didn't, Jo won't, and Beth can't (because she's too sick and too young). Their family needs money and good connections, so she's going to make them!
  • Yesterday evening, Amy says, she was sitting in a castle that they were touring, waiting for Fred to come back from picking up his letters. She felt like a girl in a storybook.
  • Fred came rushing in upset about something. He received a letter asking him to come home because his brother, Frank, is very sick.
  • Fred asked Amy not to forget him. She wouldn't make any promises, but she gave him an affectionate look, and he seemed to accept it as a promise.
  • Amy tells her mother that she expects Fred to come back and propose to her, and she's planning to say yes. And that's the end of the letter!

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