Study Guide

Sense and Sensibility Chapter 33

By Jane Austen

Chapter 33

  • Marianne eventually gives in to everyone's pressure, and goes out shopping with Elinor and Mrs. Jennings. At a jeweler, she and Elinor encounter a very unpleasant, unremarkable-looking but fashionable young man – he stares at them obviously while ordering a ridiculous-sounding toothpick case.
  • The young man, finishing his business, gives the Dashwoods another look, and stalks off.
  • Elinor goes up to the counter to do some business for her mother, and notices a familiar face next to her – her brother, John!
  • John is quite pleased to see his half-sisters, and excuses himself for not visiting them earlier – it turns out he and Fanny have been in town for a couple of days already. He's psyched to meet their new friends, the Middletons.
  • John rather embarrassingly says that he's sure the Middletons are good people – since they're wealthy. Elinor is a little ashamed of his comments.
  • Mrs. Jennings reappears, and is introduced to John.
  • The next day, John comes to visit, as promised. He apologizes for Fanny, saying that she's busy with her mother. Colonel Brandon also shows up, and John scopes him out – is he rich enough to merit politeness?
  • Elinor and John walk over to meet the Middletons, and on the way, he asks about Colonel Brandon. After being reassured that the Colonel is a man of wealth, he congratulates Elinor on what he sees to be a good matrimonial prospect.
  • John is sure that Colonel Brandon likes Elinor, and pries into his financial affairs. He tells his sister that he'd very much like to see her settled, as would Fanny and her mother. He implies that Edward might be getting married soon.
  • Upon questioning, John reveals that Mrs. Ferrars is trying to make a match between Edward and Miss Morton, an aristocratic lady with an inherited fortune. In exchange for Edward's compliance, she'll give him a thousand pounds a year (a lot of money).
  • John starts whining about how he and Fanny don't have much money – which is pretty rude, considering who he's talking to!
  • John, after venting all of his financial woes, changes the topic back to Elinor. How lucky she is to have a great friend like Mrs. Jennings, who's both wealthy and kind! He's sure that the older lady will leave Elinor some money when she dies… What a grim and insensitive thought!
  • John then asks what's wrong with Marianne – he noticed that she doesn't look well. Elinor makes a vague excuse, saying that she's been ill. John laments the fact that illness so often destroys good looks, and says that he'd be surprised if Marianne could make a good match now at all – Elinor will probably do better than her sister.
  • Elinor tries once more to tell John that she's not going to marry Colonel Brandon, but he won't be convinced.
  • Finally, the pair reach the Middletons' home, where they're greeted by Lady Middleton and Sir John. John takes a liking to both of them (because they're rich), and resolves to tell Fanny and Mrs. Ferrars that they're worthy people.