Summary and Analysis
As Elinor thought over what Willoughby had said, she pitied his condition. Her mother and Colonel Brandon arrived one half hour later, and Elinor, "waiting neither for salutation nor inquiry, instantly gave the joyful relief."
Marianne continued to mend, and on the following day Mrs. Dashwood confided to Elinor that Colonel Brandon was in love with Marianne; he had told her his feelings during their journey from Barton. He thought there was no hope for him and was "too diffident of himself to believe, that with such a difference of age and disposition, he could ever attach her." But Mrs. Dashwood felt that he was perfect for Marianne and was convinced that she would one day accept him.
The Dashwoods returned to Barton in Colonel Brandon's carriage, and Marianne was determined to be as cheerful as possible. Once settled, she decided on a plan of study and repose involving many hours of reading and walking. One day when she and Elinor were walking together, Elinor told her sister about the interview with Willoughby. Marianne was upset, but, with a kiss of gratitude, only murmured, "Tell Mamma."
Marianne derives much of her sensibility and many of her romantic notions from her mother, whose emotions are often very much exaggerated. When Marianne is ill, Mrs. Dashwood is desperately anxious, for her habit of exaggeration persuades her that Marianne must already be dead. Thus, when she arrives at Cleveland, she has "no voice to inquire after her, no voice even for Elinor." But as Marianne recovers, so her mother becomes bright and cheerful and begins her match-making schemes all over again, for she "was led away by the exuberance of her joy to think only of what would increase it."
Marianne seems to have learned from her experience. She recognizes that she was the cause of her own anguish and illness. She sees how badly she has treated people and notes how differently she and Elinor have taken their disappointments.