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Chapter 42: All Alone
Jo had promised Beth that she would take her place in being a comfort to their parents and in helping to keep the home running smoothly. However, she finds that it is more of a burden than she can handle with Beth gone. She and Marmee consol each other, and Jo finds some relief in the household chores that once had been Beth’s.
Seeing her loneliness and despair, Marmee urges Jo to take up her writing again. Jo does so hesitantly, but her first story is enthusiastically accepted and more requested.
Jo receives word that Laurie and Amy are engaged. Jo is happy for them both but still feels lonely and unhappy for herself. She wanders into the garret where mementoes of their past are stored. There she comes across her old workbooks and a note from Frizt saying that he will be coming. Jo wishes he would come for she feels like everyone is going away from her and she would love to see her dear old friend.
The narrator ends this chapter with another not-so-subtle foreshadowing.
"Was it all self-pity, loneliness, or low spirits? Or was it the waking up of a sentiment which had bided its time as patiently as its inspirer? Who shall say?"
This paragraph could have been left out entirely, and the reader would still be expecting the professor to appear on the scene.