Tags: Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility
This is an odd-to-me little chapter showcasing Willoughby’s attention to the whole Dashwood family. The focus seems to be on the cottage. Willoughby is rather emphatic (I’d almost go so far as to say pushy) about what should and shouldn’t be done there. (I personally don’t think it is his business.) He doesn’t want to see them make any improvements or repairs. We hear that over and over again. But why? Why should a visitor–even if he is courting there and well received–be so emphatic that everything remain exactly as it is regardless of anything else? It seems odd to me.
The only other thing of note in this chapter is Mrs. Jennings gossiping about the sudden departure of Colonel Brandon.
Speaking of sudden departures, Willoughby is about to make a hasty, hasty exit. A suspicious exit if you ask me. He tells the Dashwoods that he doesn’t have any idea if or when he’ll return. It could be a year or even more. And the manner in which he addresses them all seems awkward and so out of character.
Elinor and Mrs. Dashwood (the mother) do speak about it a good deal. The mother has every confidence in the world that Marianne and Willoughby are secretly engaged. She’ll admit that Willoughby may want to keep it concealed at present from the others in the neighborhood. But she trusts that Marianne and Willoughby have exchanged promises. That his intentions to marry her have been expressed at least privately. Elinor isn’t so sure. She thinks that while his affections are evident to all, his intentions are not all that clear. She thinks if Marianne were engaged that she would say something to one of them at least. But not a word about an engagement comes from Marianne.
Marianne is sad. Marianne is depressed. Heartbroken. As is to be expected after the sudden departure of her lover. This chapter does see the return of Edward Ferrars. They stumble upon him actually instead of the other way around. But while he is less obvious, less outgoing, more reserved, more subdued than Willoughby, he does seem pleased to renew their acquaintance.
Edward Ferrars pays his respect to all the Dashwoods. The acquaintance is indeed renewed. The mother welcomes him gladly. Marianne is still out of sorts and not particularly liking Ferrars. She never has though.
More of the same. Elinor senses that Edward isn’t happy. That he’s unhappy or frustrated (or stressed) about something. But she doesn’t know what. The most interesting bit of this chapter is when Marianne discovers (and Elinor discovers) that Edward has a lock of Elinor’s hair. (I guess it was the fashion to wear a lock of your love’s hair???) Anyway, it’s been made into a ring. Elinor is just as shocked as her sister because she never gave it to him. He did it without her knowing. Unlike Marianne who was greatly pleased to bestow a lock of her hair on Willoughby.