Chapter 31 Summary
Amy soon sails away to Europe, thrilled at her good fortune. She sends many long letters from the exotic places she visits. She writes first from England, describing the ocean journey and the first events of her trip. She says that the boat voyage went smoothly and that she did not get very seasick.
The majority of the first letter describes Amy’s experiences in London. She visits tourist sites such as Hyde Park and Westminster Abbey. She also reunites with Fred and Frank Vaughn, twins who attended a picnic with Laurie and the March family many years ago. She and her cousin, Flo, spend a great deal of time with these two boys.
Amy’s second letter is sent from Paris, France. She describes museums, parks, and hotel rooms. She mentions offhand that Fred Vaughn is in Paris, too. He is on his way to Switzerland, but he stopped in France because he enjoys the company of Amy and her aunt, uncle, and cousin. According to Amy, Fred's presence is a great help because he speaks far better French than she and Flo do.
A third letter arrives from Heidelberg, Germany, on the night before Amy and her companions set out to tour Switzerland. This time she describes few tourist activities before devoting the rest of the letter to Fred Vaughn, who has continued to follow Amy and her companions on their travels.
Amy believes that Fred is in love with her. She knows it is not proper for a girl to encourage such feelings, so she assures Marmee that she has neither done nor said anything too forward. However, she has begun to consider her options. She writes:
I’ve made up my mind and, if Fred asks me, I shall accept him, though I’m not madly in love.
Amy admits frankly that she wants to marry Fred for his wealth. She has always longed for a comfortable life and for the power to help her family through financial problems. She believes that this is reason enough to accept a marriage proposal and that she will grow to love Fred eventually.
All of this is speculation for now; Fred has not yet proposed. Amy thinks that he wanted to do so recently, but fate intervened. He received a message saying that his brother, Frank, was ill. Now Fred is back in England caring for his brother, so Amy does not have to make a final decision yet. Before she signs off from this letter, she invites her family to write to her with advice—but she also asks them to trust her to make the final decision for herself.