Little Women Chapter 30
Mrs. Chester is having a fair. It is considered an honor to be asked to attend to a table. Amy is asked; Jo is not. Amy's talent and taste are recognized; she is made responsible for the art table. May Chester is jealous of Amy, especially since she has heard that she was made fun of by the March sisters, something that Jo should have been credited for alone. Amy is more popular than May, more boys want to dance with her, and her pen and ink work is better than May's painted vases. Amy is unaware of all of this. Mrs. Chester tells Amy that there were some feelings hurt when the art table was given to Amy and not one of her daughters. She suggests that Amy take another table, such as the flower table. Amy is a little surprised and bothered about this. May then suggests that Amy could bring the art pieces she brought to sell with her to another table. Amy takes her things and walks off, feeling insulted.
The girls at the floral table welcome her, and Amy does her best to make it look good. That night she tells her family about it. Beth thinks that Amy shouldn't go the fair at all, and Jo says that she should take all of her things away. But Amy returns the next day, and, as she is setting up, she looks at an antique book she carefully painted. There is a passage that says, "Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself." Amy overhears May say to her friends that the art table is all spoiled because Amy took her things. Amy returns her things to the art table.
Amy is bored at the flower table. It is not doing very well, because the flowers have all wilted. Amy wishes she were at the art table. At home that night Jo hints that the tables are about to be turned and Amy is fearful that Jo will do something stupid.
Jo tells Laurie what has happened, and they arrange for the floral table to have more flowers. Laurie brings his friends the next day to keep a crowd around the floral table. His friends buy all the flowers they can, to help Amy out. Jo finds out that Amy put her things back on the art table and goes by to see them. She notices that none of her sister's things are there and suspects they have all been hidden away. She finds out that all of Amy's work sold right away and that May was very polite about it. Jo is happy and goes over to all of Laurie's friends, ordering them to buy at the art table. Her family is proud of how Amy handled herself. "'I only did as I'd be done by. You laugh at me when I say I want to be a lady, but I mean a true gentlewoman in mind and manners, and I try to do it as far as I know how. I can't explain exactly, but I want to be above the little meannesses and follies and faults that spoil so many women,'" Amy says. Chapter 30, pg. 363
Aunt Carrol hears the story and said something quietly to Mrs. March that makes her glow, but Mrs. March does not reveal until later what pleased her so much.
At the end of the fair, May kisses Amy goodnight. Jo says that she respects Amy with all her heart. A week later, Amy receives a letter from Aunt Carrol saying that she is going to Europe and would like Amy to come with her. Jo is upset, thinking it is her turn, but she hasn't been invited because of her blunt manners. She feels better about it when Beth tells her that she couldn't spare her and that she's glad that Jo isn't going just yet. Amy is excited about going to Europe because it will tell her whether she has talent or genius. The house is in a flurry until Amy leaves, and Jo is strong until Amy disappears; then she cries. Amy doesn't cry until the steamer sails.