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Little Women

Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women Chapter 44 Summary

My Lord and Lady

  • Laurie comes over to the March household and asks Marmee if he can borrow Amy to help him find something in their luggage.
  • Laurie, Jo, and Marmee talk about the way that Amy keeps Laurie on the straight and narrow.
  • As Jo helps Amy put her coat on, she asks what the newly-married Laurences are going to do with themselves. Neither of them needs to work, since Laurie is rich, but they do have plans.
  • Laurie says that he's going to go into business, if only to give him something to do and to keep him from getting into trouble. Amy, as his wife, is going to entertain all the most important people in society at their mansion.
  • Amy and Laurie go off together. Mr. and Mrs. March comment on how happy they seem and what a good couple they make. Jo sighs, but then smiles as Mr. Bhaer comes in!
  • Later that evening, Amy and Laurie talk about the family and their plans.
  • Laurie says to Amy that Mr. Bhaer seems interested in marrying Jo. Amy says that she hopes he will. Laurie wishes Mr. Bhaer was younger and richer.
  • Amy scolds Laurie and starts talking about how women shouldn't marry for money, which makes them both laugh, since she used to claim she would do exactly that.
  • In fact, Amy has married a rich man – but not for his money! She's comforted by his aristocratic appearance, too; he has the nose that she's always wanted.
  • Amy asks Laurie if he will mind if Jo marries Mr. Bhaer. She seems a little bit worried that Laurie might still have romantic feelings for Jo. Laurie assures her that all his romance is directed at her, not at Jo.
  • Amy's last bit of jealousy vanishes forever. (OK, we feel a bit skeptical about this one too, but that's what the narrator claims.)
  • Amy and Laurie speculate on how to use their fortune. They wish they could give money to Jo and Mr. Bhaer, but they know their help wouldn't be accepted.
  • Laurie suggests that he and Amy focus on using their fortune to help "poor gentle folks" instead of "out and out beggars." This is a common nineteenth-century idea – that there are "deserving" and "undeserving" poor people. We're not sure we agree, but Amy and Laurie might have something when they say that some kinds of poverty are more invisible to society. They want to help people who aren't necessarily asking for help, but still need it.
  • Laurie describes the talented young men that he has met abroad who were trying to make their way in the world and needed just a little help. Amy describes girls like herself, who have respectable backgrounds but no money, and miss opportunities.
  • Laurie and Amy agree that they will use their money to help people who are working hard and need just a little assistance to get ahead in the world. They're the nineteenth-century novel equivalent of something like small business loans from the government or scholarships – they're going to give small amounts of money here and there, in subtle ways, to fund projects that wouldn't happen otherwise, and help people succeed.
  • Laurie and Amy's resolution to use their money well draws them closer together in their marriage.

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