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Chapter 12: Camp Laurence
Laurie invites the girls to a picnic in Longmeadow where they will be joined by some of his English friends, the Vaughn’s along with Mr. Brooke, the Moffats and a few others. After taking boats to the meadow, they play a round of croquet which nearly leads to a quarrel for Jo when she catches Fred cheating at the game. Eventually, however, the activities lead to a game of truth or consequences, and Jo gets Fred to admit his transgression. Frank, a crippled youth is found in friendly discussion with Beth, and Mr. Brooke spends a little time chatting with Meg.
The primary purposes of this chapter, other than contrasting the airs of some of Laurie’s rich friends with the practical nature’s of the March girls, are to prepare the stage for Mr. Brook’s romance with Meg and to introduce Fred who will eventually propose to Amy. The letters mentioned at the beginning include not only the invitation to the picnic, but also a letter and a glove for Meg. She is positive she left the entire pair at the Laurence mansion; we will later learn the Mr. Brooke kept the other glove.
We also see that Beth is conquering some of her shyness, and Jo is maturing enough to find subtle ways of persuading another person to admit fault.