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Colonel Brandon, a friend of Sir John Middleton's, comes to meet his buddy's new tenants.
Immediately, Marianne Dashwood catches the Colonel's eye – on his part, it's love at first sight, but he doesn't speak up about it.
Colonel Brandon admits to Elinor that he once knew a young lady that reminds him of Marianne. We wonder what the deal is here… what's his story?
An outing, led by Colonel Brandon, is planned – but mysteriously, he has to run off to attend to some urgent business in town, after receiving an emergency letter. He refuses to give any info on it, despite the fact that his friends push him to tell them what's going on.
Colonel Brandon visits the Dashwoods in London. Marianne, caught up in her Willoughby madness, basically ignores him. He asks Elinor to confirm the rumor that Marianne and Willoughby are engaged – she tells him that she doesn't know for sure, but it seems like the real deal.
After the collapse of Marianne's relationship with Willoughby, Colonel Brandon comes back to visit Elinor. He reveals the truth about Willoughby, and tells her what he's been up to all this time…
OK, flashback time. Colonel Brandon takes us all the way back to his youth, in which he was in love with his cousin, Eliza – the young lady he'd hinted at earlier, who Marianne resembles. However, the young couple was separated when she was married off to his brother, and he was sent off to the army.
Colonel Brandon returns from the army to find that Eliza has fallen from grace – she's divorced his brother (who never loved her anyway), and has taken a series of lovers. He finds her in a poorhouse, on her deathbed.
Eliza leaves behind a young daughter (also named Eliza), whom Colonel Brandon adopts.
Eliza II grows up to be a beautiful young girl, about the same age as Marianne.
On a trip to Bath, Eliza meets a dashing young man – Willoughby. He seduces her and the pair abscond together. The result: Eliza is pregnant and abandoned by the dastardly Willoughby.
Colonel Brandon finally heard tell of all of this when it was too late, and when he dashed off from Barton, he was headed to find Eliza.
In the meanwhile, Colonel Brandon challenges Willoughby to a duel, but neither of them are injured.
Eliza has been moved to the country, where she and her baby are safely kept out of the limelight.
OK, we're caught up to the present. Colonel Brandon backs off for a while. We next see him during Edward's troubles with Lucy. He shows up to tell Elinor that he'd like to offer Edward the Delaford living – a generous offer for a guy he barely knows!
During Marianne's illness, Colonel Brandon is beside himself – he obviously still loves Marianne. He goes to fetch Mrs. Dashwood, and admits his love for her daughter during the emotional trip from Barton to Cleveland.
After Edward and Elinor are settled at Delaford, Colonel Brandon keeps wooing Marianne, slowly but steadily.
Colonel Brandon succeeds (finally!) in gaining Marianne's affections; the pair are married.