Study Guide

Sense and Sensibility Chapter 47

By Jane Austen

Chapter 47

  • Mrs. Dashwood hears Willoughby's story, and is just as touched as everyone else – she feels bad for him, and hopes he can be happy. However, nobody can really restore their faith in him, knowing what he's done.
  • Elinor, as always, just wanted to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; she seems to have succeeded.
  • That evening, Marianne shares her opinion on the whole matter for the first time – she's glad she knows everything, and doesn't wish her circumstances to be any different; after all, it's better that she didn't marry Willoughby.
  • Elinor elaborates upon this, thinking of all the reasons why it was better to escape from Willoughby unmarried: he's self-indulgent, selfish, and they would have been poor.
  • Everyone concludes that all was for the best, and there's nothing to regret but their own imprudence.
  • Days pass; Marianne's condition is stable, and Margaret (the youngest Dashwood sister) returns – everyone is settled.
  • Elinor wants to know what's up with Edward. She hasn't heard anything from him since she left London, and even John and Fanny don't know what he's up to.
  • One day, their servant, Thomas, goes to Exeter on business. When he returns, he informs the ladies that "Mr. Ferrars" is married. Marianne flips out, and Elinor's face silently expresses her horror. Mrs. Dashwood isn't sure which of her daughters to comfort.
  • Thomas apparently ran into Lucy Steele and her new husband getting into a carriage. She said hello to him and asked him to pass on her greetings to everyone back at Barton, saying that she'll stop by and say hi soon. He caught sight of Mr. Ferrars getting into the carriage, but the latter didn't look up or say hello.
  • Elinor comments that they're probably going to see Lucy's uncle, Edward's tutor, Mr. Pratt.
  • Thomas says that Lucy was looking very well in general. Everyone is sobered by this whole announcement.
  • Mrs. Dashwood is struck dumb – she's not sure how best to comfort Elinor. She realizes that despite Elinor's calm conduct, she's been majorly hurting on the inside. By being distracted by Marianne's dramatic tragedy, she's neglected to notice her quieter daughter's misery.