Summary and Analysis
When Mrs. Jennings returned from a drive, she sought Marianne and Elinor at once, telling them she had heard that Willoughby was to be married very soon. She was so genuinely grieved for Marianne that she showed her every possible kindness: "Marianne was to have the best place by the fire, was to be tempted to eat by every delicacy in the house." Sad though she felt, Elinor could not help but be amused by their hostess' "endeavours to cure a disappointment in love, by a variety of sweetmeat and olives, and a good fire."
Mrs. Jennings told Elinor that Willoughby's fiancée, Miss Grey, was very rich and that her guardians "would not be sorry to have her married." Elinor ventured the hope that no one would talk about Marianne's shattered romance: "It would be unnecessary, I am sure, for you to caution Mrs. Palmer and Sir John against ever naming Mr. Willoughby, or making the slightest allusion to what has passed, before my sister." Mrs. Jennings assured her that nothing would be said and went on to hope that Marianne would turn to Colonel Brandon: "He will have her at last; aye, that he will."
Later, Colonel Brandon called. He told Elinor that he had overheard two ladies talking in a shop. One of them was Mrs. Ellison, Miss Grey's guardian. She told her friend that "everything was now finally settled." Miss Grey was to marry Mr. Willoughby, and "as soon as the ceremony was over, they were to go to Coombe Magna, his seat in Somersetshire."
Here we get more examples of Mrs. Jennings' warm, lovable nature. Although often tactless and crude, she is genuinely kind and generous to Elinor and Marianne and is sincerely upset by Marianne's unhappiness. In this chapter, her efforts to mend Marianne's broken heart with sweetmeat, olives, and wine cannot help but amuse Elinor, although they also touch her, as they do the reader.
Mrs. Jennings, who likes nothing better than a romance and is of a warm and happy disposition, immediately begins to see a silver lining in the clouds. She eagerly reminds Elinor that "'tis a true saying about an ill-wind" and expects that Colonel Brandon will now be more favorably received by Marianne.