Chapter 44 Summary
The next day, Amy spends so much time with Marmee at the March house that Laurie has to come looking for her and beg her to help him unpack. Marmee apologizes for taking so much of Amy’s time, but Laurie does not really mind. He is glad she has the chance to spend time with her family again.
Before Amy returns to the Laurence house, Jo asks what the two of them plan to do now that they are home. Laurie says that he does not want a life of leisure, even though he could afford one. Instead he will go into business and make his grandfather proud. The Marches approve of this answer. Laurie goes on to announce that Amy will head a grand, fashionable, influential household. Amy does not contradict him, but privately she thinks that she will work at becoming “a good wife” before she tries to become “a queen of society.”
That evening, Laurie spots Mr. Bhaer approaching the March house again. “That man intends to marry our Jo!” says Laurie. Amy says that she hopes so, and Laurie murmurs that it would be better for Jo to find someone younger and richer. Amy says women should never marry for money—forgetting for a moment that she once claimed she would do exactly that. When Laurie teases her about this, she is embarrassed. She assures him that she would have married him even if he were poor, and he believes her. After all, she refused to marry Fred Vaughn, who is far wealthier than Laurie.
Tentatively, Amy asks whether Laurie feels jealous at the idea of a romance between Mr. Bhaer and Jo. Laurie assures her that he does not, and that he is only in love with Amy. His feelings for Jo have changed completely, and he will be able to “dance at Jo’s wedding with a heart as light as [his] heels.” At this, Amy feels reassured.
The young Laurences discuss how they will help Jo and Mr. Bhaer if they ever do marry. They both know that Jo is far too proud to accept their charity, but Laurie insists that he will find a way to benefit them. He loves giving charity to gentlemen like Mr. Bhaer who are able to provide for themselves but not lucky enough to do so without a struggle. The two of them resolve to spend their lives helping poor but honorable people.