Study Guide

Sense and Sensibility Chapter 7

By Jane Austen

Chapter 7

  • Barton Park is a rather lovely place – Sir John and Lady Middleton have life pretty much figured out. It's both comfortable and beautiful, and both of them seem perfectly happy there. Each of them has a hobby – his is hunting, and hers is spoiling their children. It all works out.
  • Lady Middleton delights in the elegance of her home, and Sir John loves just hanging out with people, so they're a pretty social pair; parties and balls are frequent occurrences in the Middleton home.
  • The arrival of new friends, the Dashwoods, just tickles Sir John pink, and he's pleased to welcome them to his home.
  • Also visiting Barton Park is Mrs. Jennings, Lady Middleton's hilariously cheerful mother. She's so cheerful, in fact, that nobody is quite sure what to make of her (the opposite of her quiet, removed daughter).
  • A friend of Sir John's, Colonel Brandon, also joins the family for dinner. He's very serious, and a real gentleman, but Marianne and Margaret instantly dismiss him as being ancient (he's over 35!).
  • Compared to these other guests, Lady Middleton is particularly dull and unappealing. She only livens up when her bratty kids make an entrance.
  • After dinner, Marianne is asked to play the piano – everyone loves it. The Middletons respond with enthusiasm (too much enthusiasm), but Colonel Brandon, who obviously appreciates music as much as Marianne does, pays attention politely and respectfully. Marianne is forced to admit to herself that he's a good guy, despite his old age.