For the next few days, Mrs. Jennings was worried about Colonel Brandon and wondered what news could have caused him to leave so quickly, guessing and conjecturing all sorts of things. Meanwhile, Willoughby’s behavior toward Marianne continued to suggest that he was attached to her, though it was still ambiguous what exactly the status of their relationship was.
As Willoughby and Marianne continue their relationship, Marianne is carried away by her love and doesn’t stop to consider or clarify exactly what Willoughby’s intentions are, as her prudent older sister might have done.
To Marianne, Willoughby’s actions clearly meant that he loved her. One day, when Mrs. Dashwood spoke of altering and improving Barton Cottage, Willoughby adamantly insisted that nothing be changed about it. Along with this demonstrated interest in the future of the Dashwood home, Willoughby continued to behave in a way that “declared at once his affection and happiness.”
Willoughby’s interest in the future of Barton Cottage suggests that he intends to be around the Dashwood family long into the future. But in the society of the time, all of Willoughby’s love and affectionate behavior means nothing without a guarantee of marriage.