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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES
Willoughby pours out his heart to Elinor. He had heard about Marianne's illness and thus decided to undertake a journey to Cleveland. He insists on talking extensively to Elinor. He tells her about his genuine affection for Marianne. In the beginning he had the intention of only flirting with her, since he had wanted to marry a wealthy girl. His dalliance with Marianne had to be cut short because of Mrs. Smith. The old lady had insisted that Willoughby marry Miss Williams, and when he had refused to obey her order, she had disowned him. Hence, Willoughby had to leave for London. In the city he had met Miss Grey, who is wealthy, and had become engaged to her. Marianne's letter had reached the hand of his fiancée, who had made him write the offensive letter to Marianne, whose heart was broken. Willoughby concludes his tale with regret at marrying the wealthy but cold Miss Grey.
Willoughby arrives at Cleveland in order to clear his conscience because he has feared that Marianne might die from this strange illness. He portrays himself as a pitiable creature, dominated by a rich but cruel wife. He tries to justify his actions with Miss Williams and professes love for Marianne. At the end of his emotional tale, he still appears as a heartless man who has deceived two innocent girls. Even Elinor, who possesses a generous heart, fails to excuse him for his wrongs. She also condemns his criticism of his wife. She considers his behavior unpardonable and allows him to relate his tale only out of a sense of courtesy.
After Willoughby leaves, Elinor continues to think about what he has told her. Elinor's generous heart sympathizes with Willoughby's plight, even though she considers him selfish in the ultimate analysis. She is one of the few characters prepared to listen to Willoughby after all that he has done.
Mrs. Dashwood arrives in great agony. Elinor relieves her of her anxiety by informing her immediately about Marianne's recovery. Nevertheless, Mrs. Dashwood rushes in to meet her sick daughter. Marianne is delighted to see her mother. After their reunion, Mrs. Dashwood reveals to Elinor that Colonel Brandon has confessed his love for Marianne and his desire to marry her. She thinks highly of Brandon and is glad about the prospect of her daughter becoming his wife.
Elinor, aware of her mother's anxiety, informs her immediately about Marianne's recovery, thus sparing the elderly lady from further agony. She also offers solace to her mother. Mrs. Dashwood is like Marianne in her temperament. She is sensitive, emotional and judgmental. She criticizes Willoughby and praises Brandon because the Colonel has professed his love for Marianne. She attributes exaggerated defects and merits to Willoughby and Brandon respectively, according to the changed circumstances. Mrs. Dashwood even finds fault with Willoughby's appearance and manners because he has rejected her daughter.
Marianne recovers steadily. She is grateful to the Colonel for taking the trouble of bringing her mother to Cleveland, and at such short notice. Brandon is overwhelmed by the attention she gives him. He arranges a special carriage to take the family to Barton and prepares to leave for Delaford. Marianne bears the journey well and becomes emotional upon reaching Barton. At home, she devises a program to keep herself occupied. Elinor is relieved to see her sister's renewed zest for life.
One day, as they go out for a walk, Marianne takes Elinor to the spot where she fell and where Willoughby rescued her. Elinor informs Marianne of Willoughby's visit to Cleveland and relates his tale of confession. Marianne is moved to tears and asks Elinor to share the facts with her mother as well.
The chapter presents a mature Marianne. She appears confident and cheerful. She withstands the pressures of the journey with a smile. She is thankful to those who have helped her to recover. She is courteous enough to express her gratitude to the Colonel. She also shows a desire to make the best of her life. At Barton, she resolves to utilize her time by reading, practicing music and appreciating the beauty of nature through walks. She wants to forget the past and start life anew. Her sincere desire is to divert her mind from thoughts of Willoughby "by religion, by reason, (and) by constant employment."
Marianne regrets her past behavior with friends and acquaintances. Her days of sickness have made her contemplative: she emerges from the illness a different person. She resolves to understand and appreciate the views of the people around her. Elinor, who had been burdened with Willoughby's story, finally gets the opportunity to reveal it to Marianne: when Marianne asks Elinor to gauge the true feelings of Willoughby for her, Elinor relates Willoughby's confession to her. Marianne is moved to tears after hearing the story, but at the same time, she is relieved to hear the facts.