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Chapter 3: The Laurence Boy
Meg and Jo get their chance to meet the Laurence boy at a New Yearís Eve dance. The chapter begins with a great deal of discussion about costume although the girls only have one outfit each. Joís dress is burned in the back because she has a habit of standing too close to the fire place and her gloves are stained. She would go without gloves, but Meg wonít hear of it as she thinks it isnít proper to dance without gloves on. They solve the problems by deciding that Jo wonít dance at all but will simply stand with her back to people so her dress wonít show and that each of them will wear a good glove and carry a stained one. After a variety of minor mishaps, such as burning Megís hair with the curling tongs, the girls are ready to go. Jo, who often forgets herself and behaves like a tomboy agrees to watch Meg for signs. Meg will raise her eyebrows if Jo seems about to do anything foolish or improper.
Meg is whisked away to dance nearly as soon as they arrive, but when a red-headed boy looks as though he about to approach Jo, she slips into a curtained recess. There she finds the Laurence boy who is hiding out of shyness. They are soon chatting merrily as Laurie has all sorts of stories about of his travels and education. Eventually he asks Jo to dance, and she confesses that she canít because of the burned dress. Laurie solves the problem by offering to dance in a long hallway connected to the ballroom.
The evening is brought to an early end when Meg sprains her ankle; getting her home is a problem at first, but Laurie overhears Jo asking someone for a carriage and offers to have his grandfather take them home in his carriage.
We are introduced to Laurie who is shy only until he gets acquainted. Both Laurie and Jo make friends easily and are practical and funloving. Neither is above doing something a little crazy. Laurie is clearly from a wealthy home and has had many opportunities the March girls have not had, but he is lonely and in need of friends.