Mrs. Dashwood was happy to hear about Willoughby and “rejoiced in his being cleared from some part of his imputed guilt,” though she didn’t entirely forgive him. That evening, Marianne told Elinor and Mrs. Dashwood that the news about Willoughby was a relief and she was now “perfectly satisfied” with the situation. She said she never could have been happy with Willoughby. Elinor complimented her on seeing the situation “exactly as a good mind and a sound understanding must consider it.”
Mrs. Dashwood is surprised but happy to be able to return to some of her former positive judgment of Willoughby’s character. Marianne seems to have genuinely transformed her character and appears rational and sensible, to the delight of Elinor.
Elinor agreed that Willoughby would have made a bad husband for her, and called him selfish. She said that “all Willoughby’s difficulties have arisen from the first offence against virtue, in his behavior to Eliza Williams.” Marianne agreed, and Mrs. Dashwood began talking about the merits of Colonel Brandon.
Elinor may have forgiven Willoughby somewhat, but she still sees him as a selfish non-virtuous person. Mrs. Dashwood is eager to promote a possible union between Marianne and Brandon.
Margaret returned soon after this, and the Dashwood family was happily reunited. Meanwhile, Elinor “grew impatient for some tidings of Edward.” One day, she spoke with a servant, who told her that “Mr. Ferrars” was married. Elinor and Marianne were both upset by this news, and the servant had to call a maid to help Marianne, who appeared to suddenly fall ill.
With Margaret’s return, the loving Dashwood family is finally reunited after so long. Despite Marianne’s apparent change, she is still overcome with emotion at the news of Edward’s apparent marriage.
The servant explained that he had seen “Mr. Ferrars” with Lucy, newly married. He had spoken with Lucy, who confirmed the union. He said Lucy seemed well and very content. The servant departed, leaving Marianne, Elinor, and Mrs. Dashwood all feeling troubled.
By speaking to the servant, Lucy deliberately tried to spread the news of her marriage to Elinor.
After dinner, Mrs. Dashwood realized that Elinor was greatly hurt, even though she tried to project a calm, collected demeanor. She worried that she had been more attentive to Marianne’s sadness, because it was more obviously apparent, and had neglected Elinor’s troubles.
Mrs. Dashwood now realizes that Elinor feels pain just as much as Marianne. Elinor is simply less demonstrative in her feelings, as she characteristically moderates her emotions.