Mrs. Jennings was a widow with two married daughters, who now had “nothing to do but to marry all the rest of the world.” She quickly realized that Colonel Brandon was in love with Marianne and thought this would be an excellent match. Marianne, though, thought that this would be a ridiculous match, because of Colonel Brandon’s age. She told Elinor and her mother, “thirty-five has nothing to do with matrimony.”
Mrs. Jennings is obsessed with marriage. Now that her own daughters are married, she enjoys meddling in the romantic affairs of her younger acquaintances. Marianne cannot consider Colonel Brandon as a suitable husband because of his age and his lack of artistic taste.
Elinor told Marianne that it would be fine for Colonel Brandon to marry a 27 year-old woman, but Marianne said that a woman of that age could “never hope to feel or inspire affection again,” and that she would think of any marriage with a woman that old as nothing but “a compact of convenience,” and “a commercial exchange.”
Marianne is stubborn in her romanticized idea of real marriage as being about love, not a mere “commercial exchange.” However, many of the novel’s characters view marriage as precisely an exchange of family wealth.
Alone with her mother at their cottage, Marianne told her that she worried Edward might be sick, because he had not yet visited them at Barton. Mrs. Dashwood, though, was not expecting Edward to visit anytime soon. Marianne was exasperated at Elinor’s lack of sadness or melancholy at being separated from Edward and at his not coming to visit.
The budding romance and potential marriage between Elinor and Edward seems to be in doubt now. Marianne cannot believe that Elinor is not more demonstrably sad and emotional, as she would certainly be in such a situation.