As soon as Colonel Brandon left, Mrs. Jennings (thinking that Brandon had proposed to Elinor) told Elinor that she had overheard a bit of their conversation and she was overjoyed at the news. Elinor thanked her and said that Brandon was very compassionate and kind. Mrs. Jennings was surprised and said Elinor was too modest.
Mrs. Jennings continues with her comic misunderstanding and thinks that Elinor is surprisingly modest about her own attractiveness as a wife.
Mrs. Jennings started to leave and Elinor asked her not to spread the news, until she had a chance to write to Edward. Mrs. Jennings was puzzled as to why Elinor would write to Edward, but then thought that Edward was going to be the priest officiating Elinor’s wedding.
Elinor doesn’t want Mrs. Jennings spreading her news throughout society (even though the news is different from what Mrs. Jennings thinks it is).
After Mrs. Jennings left, Elinor tried to start writing to Edward, but was interrupted when Edward himself arrived at the door. Both of them were embarrassed and felt awkward. Edward had seen Mrs. Jennings on the way out and she had told him that Elinor had news for him. Elinor told him about Colonel Brandon’s offer.
Elinor must do her best to maintain her composure in this awkward social situation, having to tell the man she loves that he will now be able to marry another woman.
Edward was surprised and overwhelmed with gratitude. He called Brandon “a man of great worth and respectability. . . undoubtedly a sensible man, and in his manners perfectly the gentleman.” Edward left to go see Brandon and thank him in person. As he left, Elinor thought that the next time she saw him he would probably be Lucy’s husband.
Brandon’s generosity underlines to Edward his respectable, gentlemanly character. Elinor now must resign herself to the loss of Edward as a potential husband.
Mrs. Jennings returned home and talked to Elinor more about what she thought was her engagement to Brandon. At last, she talked plainly about the Colonel marrying Elinor, and the misunderstanding was cleared up. Mrs. Jennings said that the living at Delaford would be more than enough for Edward and Lucy to live comfortably. She was confident they would be married soon.
Mrs. Jennings finally realizes what is actually going on with Colonel Brandon. She thinks that Brandon’s standard of living is too high and that Lucy and Edward will easily be able to live comfortably on his estate.