Elinor was surprised to find herself in Mrs. Jennings’ carriage, on the way to London, when she had been staunchly opposed to the journey a few days ago. Her objections had all been overcome by “that happy ardour of youth which Marianne and her mother equally shared.”
Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne’s “happy ardour” have overcome Elinor’s moderate objections to the London trip.
Elinor wondered what would happen between Willoughby and Marianne, reflecting on how much more hopeful Marianne’s situation was than her own with Edward. They arrived at Mrs. Jennings’ place in London, which was “handsome, and handsomely fitted up.”
Having mostly lost her hope of marrying Edward, Elinor turns her mind to Marianne’s romantic prospects, thinking that Marianne’s situation with Willoughby is still hopeful.
Elinor and Marianne started to write some letters as soon as they arrived in London. Elinor told Marianne she should delay hers, as she was already sending one to their mother. But Marianne told Elinor she was not writing to their mother. Elinor guessed she was writing to Willoughby.
Elinor first assumes that Marianne is writing to their mother, but she is more concerned with getting in touch with her beloved Willoughby than her mother.
Someone came to the door of Mrs. Jennings’ apartment, and Marianne exclaimed, “Oh, Elinor, it is Willoughby, indeed it is!” But when the door opened, it turned out to be Colonel Brandon. Shocked and disappointed, Marianne left the room. Brandon asked if she was ill, and Elinor made up that she was tired and probably had a headache.
Marianne can’t hold back her excitement when she thinks Willoughby has come, or her disappointment when she learns he hasn’t. Elinor has to cover for her and provide a polite excuse for Marianne leaving the room when Colonel Brandon arrives.
Mrs. Jennings talked with Brandon and Elinor and joked to Colonel Brandon, “I do not know what you and Mr. Willoughby will do between you” with Marianne. After Colonel Brandon left, Elinor and Marianne went to bed early. The next day, Mrs. Palmer came to visit.
Mrs. Jennings enjoys teasing her younger acquaintances about their romantic lives. Staying in London allows Elinor and Marianne to continue to participate in society, as friends visit Mrs. Jennings’ home.
After this, Marianne and Elinor went out into town. When they returned, Marianne excitedly looked to see if there was a letter for her, but there was not. Elinor worried about what was going on with Marianne and Willoughby, since their apparent engagement was “so doubtful, so mysterious.” Marianne continued to wait expectantly for Willoughby to come pay a visit.
Marianne cannot help but show her extreme anxiety and worry about Willoughby. Elinor is now prudently worried about Marianne, because she had no actual guarantee of an engagement.