Summary and Analysis Chapters 47-48



Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters discussed Willoughby. Mrs. Dashwood "was sorry for him; she wished him happy." But she could never like him as well as she had. Elinor declared that Willoughby was basically selfish and that he never could have been happy with Marianne because of the poverty they would have certainly been reduced to.

The family settled down quietly at Barton Cottage, and Elinor was impatient for news of Edward: "She had heard nothing of him since her leaving London, nothing new, of his plans, nothing certain even of his present abode." Then one day their man-servant returned from an errand to Exeter and said, "I suppose you know, ma'am, that Mr. Ferrars is married." He said that he had seen Lucy Steele in a chaise at the door of an inn and that Mr. Ferrars was "leaning back in it, but he did not look up." Lucy told the man she had married and would visit the Dashwoods shortly.

That evening, the family was thoughtful and silent. Mrs. Dashwood realized that she had been so engrossed with Marianne's suffering that she had forgotten "that in Elinor she might have a daughter suffering almost as much, certainly with less self-provocation, and greater fortitude."

Elinor longed for more news of Edward and hoped for Colonel Brandon's arrival to give it to her. One day a man rode up to the house on horseback and all approached the door to welcome whom they believed to be the colonel. However, the visitor, looking nervous and embarrassed, was Edward. After an awkward silence, Elinor asked him of the health of Mrs. Edward Ferrars. Edward blushed and informed the company that their groom had seen his brother Robert. All were astonished and Elinor "almost ran out of the room, and as soon as the door was closed, burst into tears of joy." Edward, sensing her emotion, "fell into a reverie" and hurried out towards the village.


Note the difference in grammatical usage; in modern English, "each" is regarded as singular and should be followed by a singular possessive adjective. But Austen uses the plural in the expression "each felt their own error.

Elinor shows herself to be as capable of emotion as her sister. But the feelings she allows people to see are quite appropriately happy ones.

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