Mrs. Jennings came back home and checked on Marianne. She had heard of Willoughby’s upcoming engagement to a Miss Grey, and tried to comfort Marianne by saying that she would have no trouble finding another good husband. At dinner that night, Marianne was “looking most wretchedly,” but remained calm.
Mrs. Jennings tries to cheer Marianne up with thoughts of a future husband, as Marianne tries to retain a calm outward appearance, despite her emotionally turbulent state.
Mrs. Jennings was very kind to Marianne, and Elinor returned the politeness. When Marianne left the table, Mrs. Jennings lamented that Willoughby had used Marianne, but said that he evidently cared only about money, as Miss Grey was very rich. Mrs. Jennings asked if there was anything she could do to cheer up Marianne, but Elinor said she would simply try to get her to go to sleep early.
Unlike Marianne, Elinor takes care to return Mrs. Jennings’ kindness and polite behavior. Mrs. Jennings explains Willoughby’s behavior through Miss Grey’s wealth, thinking that Willoughby simply prioritized money over love (not uncommon in this environment).
Elinor admitted to Mrs. Jennings that Willoughby had broken no formal engagement with Marianne, but Mrs. Jennings would have none of her defending Willoughby. She said that his behavior implied an engagement. But she said, optimistically, that now Marianne would likely marry Colonel Brandon, which would be a good match.
Elinor tries to maintain an impartial view of the situation, but Mrs. Jennings is entirely on Marianne’s side. Never without marriage gossip for long, she now eagerly awaits a match between Marianne and Brandon.
After Elinor went to check on Marianne and tried to persuade her to go to bed, Colonel Brandon arrived, having heard about Willoughby’s engagement. He asked Elinor how Marianne was doing, and Elinor told him he could imagine how upset she was, as he knew “her disposition.”
Brandon comes to check on Marianne, displaying his considerate, kind character. Elinor tells him that he can imagine how the sensitive, emotional Marianne is handling this difficult situation.