Study Guide

Sense and Sensibility Chapter 30

By Jane Austen

Chapter 30

  • Mrs. Jennings arrives home and busts in on the sisters, looking anxious. She inquires after Marianne, then makes a shocking announcement: Willoughby is to be married very soon, to a certain Miss Grey.
  • Her news delivered, Mrs. Jennings retreats, leaving the sisters to their troubles.
  • Marianne insists upon coming down to dinner that night, and seems calmer. Mrs. Jennings, who's really a good lady at heart, feels terrible about the whole thing and spends the rest of the evening spoiling Marianne.
  • After a while, this treatment gets a little old, and Marianne flees back to her room.
  • Elinor and Mrs. Jennings stay downstairs and talk over the matter of Willoughby. It turns out that his fiancée, Miss Grey, is quite rich – she's otherwise rather unremarkable.
  • Mrs. Jennings realizes that Willoughby has been the cause of Marianne's downcast behavior all week, and can't wait to tell everyone else the bad news. Elinor tells her to make sure nobody brings up the subject in front of Marianne ever again.
  • The pair agrees that talking and gossiping about this event will only make it worse (that's rich, coming from Mrs. Jennings!).
  • Mrs. Jennings, trying to look at the bright side, observes that this is a good sign for Colonel Brandon. Surely Marianne will just settle down and marry him now!
  • Elinor can't take this matchmaking talk at the moment, and goes up to check on Marianne.
  • Marianne doesn't want company, though, so Elinor is forced back downstairs, where Mrs. Jennings, who wants her to take a glass of special wine to Marianne.
  • Elinor informs her that Marianne has gone to bed, and drinks the wine herself, thinking that she could also use a cure for a broken heart.
  • Colonel Brandon turns up the next day, saying that he's heard tell of Willoughby's new engagement. He and Elinor discuss the matter at length. He asks how Marianne's doing – and Elinor tells him that her sister doesn't blame Willoughby himself.
  • Colonel Brandon absorbs this information pensively. Mrs. Jennings is rather surprised that he doesn't magically transform into a bubbly, happy guy at the news that his affection for Marianne is now unobstructed.