Little Women Chapter 21
Meg knows that Jo has a secret. The best way to find it out, she decides, is to not say anything and to wait for Jo to tell her. This doesn't happen. Laurie has already wheedled the secret about John (Mr. Brooke) out of Jo. Jo notices that a change has come over Meg and that one day a sealed note comes for Meg in the little mailbox. Meg is upset by the note and accuses Jo of writing it. It turns out that Laurie has written two notes, this one and a previous one. They were supposedly from John, revealing the whole matter of his love for Meg and his wish to marry her.
Jo runs to get Laurie while her mother finds out Meg's true feelings for John and tells her John's true feelings for her. Laurie is brought in and made to apologize. He goes home. Jo, feeling she has been hard on him, goes over to his house to see him. Laurie tells Jo he has gotten into a fight with his grandfather because Laurie refused to tell the old gentleman what sort of trouble the Marches were having. Jo speaks to Mr. Laurence, saying, "'Indeed, sir, I cannot tell. Mother forbade it. Laurie has confessed, asked pardon, and been punished quite enough. We don't keep silence to shield him, but someone else, and it will make more trouble if you interfere.'" Chapter 21, pg. 250 She says that Laurie has been honorable and should not be punished. Mr. Laurence understands and asks Jo how he can make peace with Laurie, who has shut himself in his room. Jo suggests that he write a note to Laurie with an apology.