Study Guide

Sense and Sensibility Chapter 38

By Jane Austen

Chapter 38

  • As we just mentioned, Mrs. Jennings, Elinor, and Marianne all think that Edward did the right thing in sticking by his fiancée, Lucy Steele. The two girls are both proud of his integrity, despite their own sadness.
  • It's Elinor's turn for heartache, and Marianne's turn to be the strong sister. She tries her best to exert her power of will in helping out her sister.
  • No word arrives from Lucy or Edward – what's going on?
  • A beautiful day arrives, and Elinor and Mrs. Jennings go to enjoy the weather in Kensington Gardens (Marianne stays home, worried that she'll see the Willoughbys).
  • Elinor, left on her own after Mrs. Jennings finds a friend of hers, doesn't see anyone – not Edward, not the Willoughbys. She does, however, run into Miss Steele, and is encouraged by Mrs. Jennings to "get it all out of her."
  • Miss Steele wants to know first and foremost if anyone is angry at her. Apparently, Lucy pitched a fit (as we can imagine!) when Miss Steele broke the news to Fanny. Now, though, she's gotten over it.
  • Apparently, many people have been shocked, as John was, by the fact that Edward chose Lucy over Miss Morton and her thirty thousand pounds; however, after a few days, he came to visit them to clear up matters – everything seems like it's fine between the lovers, and they plan to be married.
  • Miss Steele admits that she learned all of this by eavesdropping, and Elinor is embarrassed for her sake.
  • Right now, Edward is in London for the time being, but plans to go to Oxford to do some business soon.
  • The Richardsons, with whom the Steeles are staying now, come by, and Miss Steele rushes off to join them, after sending her regards to Marianne along with Elinor.
  • Elinor tries to figure out what she should think: the facts is, Edward is definitely going to marry Lucy, whenever he gets a job as a curate somewhere.
  • Mrs. Jennings tries to pry as much information as possible out of Elinor on their way back home, but she doesn't get much for her efforts.
  • Mrs. Jennings has a rather pessimistic view of how poor Edward and Lucy will be, and wonders if she might be able to help them out.
  • The next morning, Elinor receives a letter from Lucy, basically thanking her for her discretion and for all of her guidance. It's a gloat-ful letter, assuring Elinor of how happy she and Edward are, despite their troubles. She also wants Elinor to pass her regards on to everyone else.
  • Elinor passes the letter on to Mrs. Jennings, as Lucy apparently intended her to.
  • Mrs. Jennings reads it happily, praising Lucy left and right.