Little Women Chapter 14 Summary
by Louisa May Alcott

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Chapter 14 Summary

One day Jo sits in the attic, concentrating hard on something she is writing. Eventually she rolls up some papers, ties them with pretty ribbons, and sneaks downstairs. She takes care to not let anyone see her; she even exits the house by climbing out a window. She goes to town and finds a certain building, but she does not go inside. Instead, she paces back and forth outside the door. It takes her quite some time to work up the courage to enter.

Unbeknownst to Jo, she has been spotted. Laurie has just finished a fencing lesson across the street, and now he stands in a doorway, watching her antics and laughing. He waits for her to come back out, and he is surprised when she seems sorry to see him. They begin the walk home together, and he promises to tell her a secret if she explains what she was doing in that building.

Jo is unable to resist the offer of a secret and admits that she has submitted two short stories to a newspaper. She does not yet know if they will be published, but the editor promised to read them and tell her soon. Laurie lets out a shout of celebration. He thinks she is sure to get published, and Jo is quietly pleased by his support.

Laurie tells his secret next. He knows what happened to Meg’s glove, the one she lost at the Laurence house a few weeks ago. At first Jo does not understand why this matters. Laurie explains that a gentleman has been carrying the glove in his pocket. In other words, someone is in love with Meg. Jo is horrified; she never wants Meg to grow up and get married. Laurie whispers the man’s name in Jo’s ear, but the reader is left to guess who it is.

Jo goes home, and for the next couple of weeks she behaves bizarrely. She acts alternately angry and loving toward Meg. She checks the mail several times every day, and she frequently whispers with Laurie in the garden. Beth, who is normally Jo’s confidante, pretends not to be jealous that Jo has a secret with someone other than herself.

One day, Jo comes home with a newspaper. Hiding her face behind the pages, she reads a story aloud. When her sisters say they like it, she admits that she is the author. This news thrills the whole family. Everyone takes turns rereading the story and attacking Jo with questions. Jo explains that this first publication is practice and that she agreed to do it for no pay. However, she hopes to make money from writing in the future. Perhaps someday she will grow rich and famous—able to support herself and her family.