Little Women Chapter 32
Marmee is worried about Beth's spirits. Her health is getting better but she seems to be depressed. Marmee doesn't want to pry, so she speaks to Jo, who is very close to Beth. Jo says she will watch Beth and try to find out what is the matter.
One day, Beth is sewing and Laurie's voice is heard outside. Beth puts down her sewing more than once and stares off. Jo sees a tear in Beth's eye and jumps to the conclusion that Beth is in love with Laurie. She begins to watch Laurie's behavior with Beth. It is as kind and gentle as always, but it has never occurred to her that he cared more for Beth. Laurie falls in love every week at college, which amuses Jo, but he has suddenly stopped speaking of the topic at all with Jo and become more studious. Jo gets carried away thinking of this and decides she needs to distract herself somehow. She sits on the sofa to think about this. When she sits on this sofa and doesn't want anyone to bother her, she usually barricades it with a long pillow. This time she forgets, and soon Laurie sits next to her, wanting attention. Jo tells him to go away and teases him about his former loves. She tells him to find a pretty and modest girl whom he respects and to wait until he's through with college, because he's not half good enough for whoever the girl is.
Jo stays up late that night, but just as she is falling asleep she heard Beth sobbing in the next room. She asks Beth if it is the old pain again. "'No, it is a new one, but I can bear it.' And Beth tried to check her tears." Chapter 32, pg. 387 Jo asks if it would help to tell her troubles but Beth says she won't just yet. Jo believes she knows what it is. They fall asleep next to each other.
Jo confides to her mother that she thinks Beth is in love with Laurie, but that Laurie is getting too fond of Jo. Her mother had not realized that the situation was so full of romance. She and her mother both agree that Laurie is getting too attached to her and that they would not make a good couple because they are too much alike. Jo is not interested in marrying Laurie, so she proposes that she go to New York for a while to teach the children of Mrs. Kirke, a friend of her mother. Her mother agrees that this is a good idea.
Jo leaves, asking Beth to take care of Laurie for her. Laurie tells her that going away won't do her a bit of good and that his eye is on her.