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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES
Elinor is troubled by Lucy's confession. Although she is inclined to believe the truth of Lucy's statements, she is not sure about Edward's feelings in the matter. So she decides to talk to Lucy again on the subject. She gets the opportunity to do so when she visits the Park on the invitation of John Middleton. While Lady Middleton sits down to play Casino with the others and Marianne plays the piano, Elinor helps Lucy to make a basket for Annamaria.
Elinor is as composed as she is sensible. After hearing about the engagement of Lucy and Edward, she neither breaks down nor indulges in brooding. She ponders over the truth of Lucy's statements and tries to analyze Edward's emotions towards Lucy. She does not condemn Edward for his actions. She tries to connect the sequence of events leading to their engagement. She tries to remember Edward's state of mind when she met him at Norland. She decides to talk to Lucy again before passing judgment.
At home, Elinor behaves normally. She is in admirable control of her emotions. She thus spares her mother and sisters from the anxiety that would naturally result from such a disclosure. She realizes the futility of seeking advice or conversing with them on the subject. She feels that "she was stronger alone, and her own good sense so well supported her, that her firmness was as unshaken, her appearance of cheerfulness as invariable, as with regrets so poignant and so fresh, it was possible for them to be." Indisputably, then, she is a paragon of endurance.
At the first opportunity, Elinor brings up the topic of Lucy and Edward. Lucy readily gives information about Edward's insufficient income, which might not be enough for them to settle down. However, she expresses confidence in Edward's love for her. She also voices her desire to have Edward take orders in the Church. To realize her wish, she seeks the help of Elinor to persuade her brother to give the Norland parish to them. She further reveals a plan to visit London later on, in order to meet Edward.
Elinor elicits information from Lucy with commendable tact and persuasion. She encourages Lucy to talk about Edward and observes her in order to gauge her actual feelings for Edward. Lucy is pragmatic enough to want Edward to be well-settled before their marriage. She takes the first opportunity to ask Elinor to speak to John Dashwood and recommend a position at Norland for them. Shamelessly, she even hopes for Mrs. Ferrars' demise, so that Edward can get his share of the property.
Elinor and Lucy love the same man, but the manner of their love differs greatly. Elinor is selfless in her love for Edward. She blames neither him nor Lucy for the turn of events. She is highly in control of her emotions. Lucy is selfish and insecure about her hold over Edward. She is crude in her manner of expression and displays her emotions openly. Of the two, Elinor undoubtedly deserves Edward.
Mrs. Jennings decides to go back to town to occupy her house at Portman Square. She invites the Dashwood sisters to accompany her to London. The sisters decline the invitation at first, as they are reluctant to part with their mother. But when Mrs. Dashwood gives her consent readily, they have no excuse to offer. In fact, Marianne looks forward to the trip, as it will afford her an opportunity to meet Willoughby. Elinor is happy for her sister although she herself is not very enthusiastic about visiting the city.
Jane Austen creates the appropriate setting for the heroines to meet with their lover interests. The fate of both Elinor and Marianne will be decided in London. Austen evokes curiosity in the reader's mind about the future of her protagonists.
The reaction of the two sisters to Mrs. Jennings' invitation is different. Marianne is too eager to go to London, and hence shows impatience, while Elinor hesitates to make a decision. Marianne is even prepared to tolerate Mrs. Jennings' company in London, as long as she has the opportunity to meet Willoughby. Her reason for going to London is entirely selfish.
Elinor characteristically weighs the pros and cons before making a decision. She hesitates to leave for London because she has to part with her mother. Also, she is apprehensive about staying in London with Mrs. Jennings, whose constant company might prove irksome. Left to herself, she neither desires nor dislikes going to London. However, when she becomes aware of Marianne's enthusiasm, she decides to accompany her sister to the city.