Little Women Chapter 9 Summary
by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Download Little Women Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Chapter 9 Summary

Meg has been invited to take a two-week vacation with Annie Moffat, a wealthy friend. The younger girls lend Meg their best jewelry and ribbons, and Marmee gives her some silk stockings and a beautiful sash. Although she is glad Meg will have a chance to enjoy herself for a change, Marmee conceals a private worry: Will Meg return from her rich vacation feeling more unhappy than ever in her modest life?

On the trip, Meg quickly realizes that her clothing is far too drab and simple for the company she is keeping. She tries to put the matter out of her mind and enjoy herself, but somehow she is reminded of her poverty at every turn. One evening at a party, she overhears Mrs. Moffat musing that the Marches would be lucky if one of the girls married Laurie and thus got access to the Laurence wealth. Meg listens with shock as Mrs. Moffat suggests that Marmee is actively plotting to make this happen. Moments later, Mrs. Moffat calls Meg’s best dress “dowdy” and says she hopes it gets torn so the proud little Meg will consent to borrow a better one for the biggest party of the trip.

Meg knows she should tell Mrs. Moffat the truth about Marmee, but doubts form in the back of her mind: Could Mrs. Moffat be right? Could Marmee be plotting to take advantage of Laurie’s money? These questions worry Meg so much that she has trouble sleeping.

When the night of the big party arrives, Meg lies and says that her best dress is ruined. She borrows a ball gown and lets the older girls paint her face with make-up. She wants to feel glamorous but instead feels strange. She tries to have a good time, but then she meets Laurie, who tells her she looks ridiculous. “I don’t like fuss and feathers,” he says. Moments later, Meg overhears an older man saying far worse:

They are making a fool of that little girl; I wanted you to see her, but they have spoiled her entirely; she’s nothing but a doll tonight.

Meg realizes she would have been happier in her own plain clothes. Still, she spends the rest of the party playing the role she has dressed up to perform: she flirts, dances, and even drinks champagne. Laurie does not like it, and he leaves the party angry.

When Meg returns home, she tells the little girls all about the good parts of her adventures. Then, when Amy and...

(The entire section is 638 words.)