Amy writes from Europe. She tells of her adventures in London, where she runs into the Vaughns. Fred Vaughn seems to be infatuated with Amy, so much so that he follows Amy and the Carrols to Paris (under the guise of being en route to Switzerland). In a letter to Mrs. March, Amy reveals that she thinks Fred wishes to marry her. She tells Marmee that though she’s “not madly in love,” she’s decided that she will say yes if he asks. “One of us must marry well,” she writes.
Amy is aware of her power as an attractive, socially adept woman: she is capable of “making a good match,” so as to pull her family out of poverty. In the patriarchal 19th century, a woman’s power rested largely in her ability to marry well. Marriage was often considered to be a business decision rather than a matter of love.