Jo sneaks out of the house in the middle of the day, having slipped a manuscript into her pocket. She goes into town and enters an office building. Laurie, having just stepped out of the gymnasium across the street, spies Jo going into the building and (assuming she went to see a dentist in the same building) decides to wait for her to come out, in case she needs an escort home.
One of the book’s most feminist moments springs from Jo’s actions in this chapter. Laurie assumes that Jo has had some teeth removed and thus needs help getting home. It is also implied that Jo, being a woman, needs a man to “save” her.
Laurie tells Jo that he has a secret, and that he’ll tell her his secret if she tells him his. After some coaxing, Jo reveals that she’s submitted two stories to the local newspaper. Laurie, in turn, reveals that he knows the whereabouts of Meg’s missing glove. Jo is quite displeased when he tells her where it is.
Jo is keeping her writing a secret because it’s not traditionally acceptable for women to write. The identity of the person who has Meg’s glove isn’t revealed just yet. Based on Jo’s reaction, however, we’re to assume that it’s a suitor.
A fortnight passes, and the Marches think Jo is acting odd. She’s rude to Mr. Brooke, and she and Laurie seem to be plotting something (in actuality, they’re secretly chattering about Jo’s newspaper venture). Finally she finds out that the local paper has taken one of her stories. Her family is delighted when they learn of her success. Jo reveals that the newspaper will pay her starting with her next story, and she’s delighted that she will have a way to earn money.
At this point, we’re to assume that the suitor is Mr. Brooke, given that Jo is being rude to him. Jo’s success in this chapter is strikingly feminist, insofar as she’s being championed for striking out on her own in order to do meaningful work – work that, in 19th century America, is typically performed by men.