Study Guide

Sense and Sensibility Chapter 27

By Jane Austen

Chapter 27

  • Mrs. Jennings remarks casually that it's too bad the weather is so nice – it must be keeping anyone interested in hunting at home in the country.
  • Marianne is heartened by this idea – after all, Willoughby loves to hunt, so maybe he's still home at Combe Magna. She's suddenly in a good mood.
  • Elinor, hoping to distract Mrs. Jennings, says that surely Lady Middleton and Sir John will come by the end of the week. She silently observes that Marianne will doubtless write to Willoughby in the country.
  • The ladies spend the morning visiting various friends of Mrs. Jennings's, and Marianne spends the whole time observing the weather.
  • Elinor finds her sister's behavior both hilarious and worrying.
  • Everything is quite pleasant in Mrs. Jennings' home, and the girls are fairly content, at least for now. Colonel Brandon comes to visit practically every day, and Elinor worries about how hard he's fallen for Marianne. He's obviously more in love with her than ever.
  • After about a week of this, Willoughby shows up – unfortunately, he stops by when nobody's around, and leaves his calling card behind as proof of his visit.
  • Marianne freaks out, and Elinor reassures her that he'll visit again the next day. However, the next morning, Marianne stays home, but nobody comes to visit. A note arrives, and Marianne rudely snatches it up. Unfortunately, it's not from Willoughby.
  • The letter, which is actually for Mrs. Jennings, informs them that the Middletons have finally arrived. Lady Middleton invites them to dinner the next evening, as various things prevent them from visiting the Jennings abode themselves.
  • Elinor persuades Marianne to go along, even though she'd rather stay home and wait for Willoughby to call.
  • Sir John seems to be the same in town and in the country – as usual, he's invited a ton of people over for a raging party, including the Palmers, and a bunch of other folks.
  • Mr. Palmer says a cursory and awkward hello. In general, the evening seems pretty disappointing, especially because Willoughby isn't there.
  • When they arrive home, Mrs. Jennings lets slip the fact that Willoughby was invited to the party – but just didn't show. Marianne is shocked and hurt. She immediately writes another letter to him in the morning.
  • Elinor writes to her mother, seeking help on the Willoughby front.
  • Colonel Brandon shows up as soon as Elinor finishes her letter, and Marianne flees the room before he enters.
  • Colonel Brandon is actually relieved to just find Elinor – apparently, he has something to tell her in private. He brings up the topic of Willoughby, commenting that it's a well-known fact that he and Marianne are engaged.
  • Elinor assures him that it's not that well-known – after all, even she and her mother don't know it for sure.
  • The colonel says that he's heard it from many people, including Mrs. Jennings, the Palmers, and the Middletons. He has come to see if the engagement is absolutely, 100% for sure or not. Elinor answers that she's not surprised by the rumors, though Marianne hasn't told her anything.
  • Colonel Brandon simply wishes the couple the greatest happiness, and leaves without another word.
  • Elinor is saddened by this conversation, but torn between her pity for Colonel Brandon, and her desire to see the whole Willoughby/Marianne issue resolved.