Little Women Chapter 43
Jo is lying on the old sofa thinking, "'An old maid, that's what I'm to be. A literary spinster, with a pen for a spouse, a family of stories for children, and twenty years hence a morsel of fame, perhaps....'" Chapter 43, pg. 517 She falls asleep thinking this. She is woken up by Laurie's face staring straight into her own. She jumps up and greets him, asking where Amy is. Laurie says that his "wife" is at Meg's with her mother. Jo asks if they are already married and Laurie says that they are. Jo asks how it came about. Laurie tells her that Mr. Laurence wanted to come home but the Carrols decided to stay longer and wouldn't let Amy go home with the Laurences unchaperoned. So they convinced the Carrols that there was no time to write home for permission and that it would have to be so. They married quietly in the American Consulate in Paris. His grandfather decided that he didn't want to leave for a month and urged the couple to go on a honeymoon.
Laurie tells Jo that he has not stopped loving her, but that he sees things as they are and that he has learned his lesson. She is glad, but knows that they have both grown up since that time.
The whole family comes into the house. Mr. Laurence looks much better and heartier after the time abroad. Amy is polished and has a Parisian look about her. The whole family greets and kisses each other. They all look at their returned members, especially Amy. They tell her how well and beautiful she looks. Mr. and Mrs. March are pleased with the lady that their daughter has become. They all have tea, and began to catch up on three years of being apart.
Jo watches all of this alone. She doesn't know whom to lean on now. Beth is gone and both her of her other sisters are married. There is a sudden knock at the door. She opens it and discovers Mr. Bhaer. Bhaer, noticing the family gathering, is about to suggest that he has come at a bad time when Jo invites him in. She introduces him to her family, and at first they are merely kind, but as they get to know him they begin to like him.
Jo observes Bhaer. She notices how well he is dressed, with new clothes and a haircut. She thinks he is dressed as if he was going to impress a woman -- then she suddenly realizes that that is exactly what he is doing. She begins to blush and drops her yarn ball so that she can hide her face. Mr. Bhaer bends to pick up the yarn and their heads bump.
Bhaer doesn't realize that Amy and Laurie are married. He still has suspicions about Jo and Laurie, until the end of the night when all is clarified.
Jo wonders to herself why he has come, and why at this moment.