One day, Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, and Margaret went to visit Lady Middleton, leaving Marianne at home. When they got back, they saw Willoughby’s carriage outside. But when they entered the cottage, they saw Marianne run to her room crying and found Willoughby looking sad. Willoughby informed them that he had to go to London indefinitely on business.
Marianne is unable to control her emotions and runs out of the room crying, because of Willoughby’s imminent departure.
Mrs. Dashwood invited him to visit Barton Cottage often, but Willoughby was evasive. He said he had to leave, and took off quickly, leaving Elinor and her mother uneasy. Mrs. Dashwood guessed that Willoughby’s aunt Mrs. Smith was displeased with the growing relationship between Marianne and him and so made him go to London.
As she invited Edward to visit often, Mrs. Dashwood invites Willoughby, hoping to maintain his connection to Marianne. She guesses that Mrs. Smith disapproves of the relationship because Marianne is not wealthy enough for Willoughby to marry.
Elinor wasn’t entirely convinced by this, and remained suspicious of Willoughby. She wanted proof of his engagement to Marianne, even though Mrs. Dashwood was sure they were engaged. Mrs. Dashwood could not believe that Elinor doubted the engagement. Marianne was depressed and emotionally fragile for the rest of the day.
Driven more by sense than by emotion, Elinor is skeptical of Willoughby, who has never explicitly stated his intentions. Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne, by contrast, assume that Willoughby will propose to her. Marianne cannot restrain her sadness at Willoughby’s departure.