Chapter 45 Summary
Little Women is nearing its end, and the narrator pauses to say that the story would not be complete without a chapter devoted to Meg’s children, Daisy and Demi. Smart and capable, these two children bring joy to all the adults in their family. Although they are twins, they are very different from each other.
Daisy is sweet, girlish, and loving. From the time she is tiny, she tries hard to imitate the women in her life. She is free with her hugs and kisses, and she is capable of making even cantankerous old bachelors smile at her on the street. Once she was seen to spread her arms and say, “Me loves evvybody.” In this way, she is a bit like Beth. This makes the family cherish her all the more, and everyone works hard to protect her.
Demi is a little rascal who gets into a great deal of mischief and inspires an equal amount of joy. A curious child, he constantly demands to know how things work. He loves to ask questions of his learned grandfather, who tries to answer him accurately and completely.
Jo is the children's favorite aunt. They call her Aunt Dodo, and they love to play with her. Amy impresses them with her beauty, but she is still strange to them. Beth, to their little minds, is already a distant memory. When Mr. Bhaer comes, Jo begins to spend more time with him than with her little niece and nephew. The children are a bit put off by this, but they accept it because, like all children, they cannot resist making friends with the kind Mr. Bhaer.
One day, the perceptive little Demi happens to advance the relationship between his aunt and her admirer. Mr. Bhaer always asks after Mr. March when he comes to the house, and for some time, Father assumes that the visitor is really seeking male company and conversation. Then one day Demi says innocently that little boys and little girls like each other. Seeing how Mr. Bhaer looks at Jo, Demi wonders aloud whether the same is true of big boys and big girls. Father is startled by this question, but he catches the look on Mr. Bhaer’s face and realizes that a romance is in progress.
Demi does not understand the odd response to his simple question. Jo takes him aside, hugs him tightly, and gives him a gift of bread and jam. He has no idea what he did to deserve such a treat. He tries for a long time to understand it, but he fails. In the end, he writes it off as an unsolved mystery.