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CHAPTER SUMMARY WITH NOTES
This chapter gives an extended character sketch of Mrs. Jennings. Wealthy and contented, she is anxious to see young men and women settled in life. Thus, when she spots Colonel Brandon admiring Marianne as she is playing the piano, she immediately pairs them up as a suitable couple. She voices her thoughts aloud to both Brandon and Marianne. While the Colonel ignores her remarks, Marianne expresses shock at the suggestion. She rejects the Colonel on the basis of his age and his reserved temperament. Elinor, though, does not agree with her sister.
Mrs. Jennings is a typical matron: she delights in making matches between eligible men and women. She is happy to gain the acquaintance of the Dashwood girls. When she observes the Colonel admiring Marianne's talent, she concludes that Brandon is in love with the girl. She amuses herself by teasing both Marianne and the Colonel.
Austen once again points out the difference in the attitudes of the two sisters. Elinor, with her better judgment, is able to assess the merits of Brandon and finds him an eligible bachelor. Marianne, fed on romantic literature, does not find the Colonel exciting enough to capture her heart. She discards the idea of him as a match for herself because he is twice her age and does not display vigor and enthusiasm.
The Dashwoods settle down to a life of peace and contentment. They keep themselves occupied, and John Middleton visits them frequently. One morning, while Mrs. Dashwood and Elinor are engaged in the household duties, Marianne and Margaret venture out to explore the countryside. They get carried away by the beauty of the natural surroundings and start climbing up a hill, despite the rough weather. Suddenly it starts raining, and they head towards home. Marianne misses her step, twists her ankle and falls down. A gentleman riding by takes pity on her and carries her to her house. He introduces himself as Willoughby, from Allenham. He impresses everyone with his appearance and charming manners, and Marianne is smitten. Later in the day, when John Middleton pays them a visit, the family floods him with questions about Willoughby. Sir John talks favorably of the dashing young man.
The theme of love is developed. Jane Austen convincingly constructs a situation in which Marianne gets to meet the 'hero' of her dreams. Elinor has already met a good man; it is time for Marianne to find her partner. Marianne's accident, and her rescue by a knight in shining armor, resembles a scene from a fairy tale or romantic fiction. Marianne is overpowered by the striking appearance and charming manners of Willoughby. He is everything Marianne has wanted in a man: he is handsome, dashing and chivalrous.
The chapter thus introduces another main character. Willoughby is a man with charm and vitality; he easily impresses beautiful girls like Marianne. His imposing presence is in direct contrast to the subdued character of the Colonel. John Middleton feels sorry for the Colonel and hopes that Marianne will realize his worth.
Chapter 10 highlights the character of Willoughby and places him in further contrast to Colonel Brandon. Willoughby slowly but surely captures Marianne's heart with his enchanting ways. He also wins the approval of Mrs. Dashwood. Only Elinor is restrained in her praise for him. She is able to gauge Colonel Brandon's true feelings for Marianne, and thus feels sorry for him. She also feels hurt by the manner in which both Willoughby and Marianne ridicule the Colonel.
Marianne finds Willoughby an ideal suitor and is happy to seek his favor. However, Elinor is able to see through his superficial conduct. She observes that he is impulsive, prejudiced and opinionated, much like her sister. He speaks before he thinks, and he thoughtlessly hurts the Colonel's feelings with his careless remarks.
Austen reveals Elinor's maturity by having her analyze the characters of Willoughby and the Colonel. She understands the real worth of the Colonel and values his sentiments. She considers him to be "a sensible man, well-bred, well-informed, of gentle address, and--an amiable heart." She ranks him higher as a man than Willoughby.
This chapter hints at the fate of Marianne in the hands of Willoughby. Elinor, as Austen's mouthpiece, conveys her apprehension about this shallow and ostentatious man.