Marianne and Willoughby
Marianne soon had her wish. Willoughby called early the next morning and he was warmly welcomed by Mrs Dashwood. Willoughby himself was delighted by the Dashwoods and everyone soon noticed that he admired Marianne Dashwood.
Elinor Dashwood had a pretty face and a fine figure. But her younger sister, Marianne, was beautiful. Marianne had dark shining eyes and she loved to talk about her ideas and feelings. She and Willoughby both liked art, literature, music and dancing. Willoughby admired the same poets who Marianne loved. Marianne was delighted.
Willoughby visited Barton Cottage every day. For a few days after her fall, Marianne could not walk, so she could not leave the house. But she did not care. All she thought about was Willoughby.
The two young people talked together. They sang their favourite songs together. After only a few days, the beautiful young woman and her handsome rescuer had told each other their ideas on every subject. Marianne was completely happy for the first time in her life. Willoughby was perfect in every way!
Elinor was a little unhappy about her sister’s behaviour. As usual, Marianne thought only of her feelings. Elinor knew that sensibility was more important to Marianne than good sense. Marianne thought that Willoughby loved her and so she believed it.
Mrs Dashwood was happy too. She did not agree with Elinor. Mrs Dashwood was hoping that her second daughter would soon be engaged. She wanted Marianne to marry their charming, handsome neighbour.
Elinor saw that Colonel Brandon also admired Marianne. Elinor felt sorry for the Colonel. She was angry when Willoughby and Marianne laughed at the older man who was so different from themselves.
‘Everyone speaks well of Brandon, but no one cares about him,’ Willoughby said one day. ‘We are all delighted to see him, but no one wants to talk to him.’
‘That is exactly what I think,’ Marianne said.
‘You are both being unkind about Colonel Brandon,’ Elinor said quickly. ‘His neighbours admire him and I enjoy talking to him.’
‘Lady Middleton and Mrs Jennings admire him,’ Willoughby said with a careless laugh. ‘But no one thinks that their opinions are important.’
‘The Colonel has good sense,’ Elinor replied. ‘And I think that he has a kind heart.’
‘Perhaps he does have a kind heart. But what about his feelings?’ Marianne asked. ‘You think that the Colonel is sensible. Willoughby and I think that he is very dull»!’
The month of October passed very happily for Marianne. She thought about nothing but her love for Willoughby. They met at every dance and party in the neighbourhood. They did not try to hide their feelings for each other. Mrs Jennings teased them and made many jokes about love, but Marianne and Willoughby did not care.
Elinor was not as happy as her sister. She often thought about Norland Park and how her friendship with Edward Ferrars had started there. Elinor had hoped to see Edward again, but he did not come to Barton.
Elinor enjoyed sensible conversations and she liked to talk to Colonel Brandon. Elinor was not in love with the Colonel, but she enjoyed being with him. Whenever the Middletons invited guests to Barton Park, Elinor always met Colonel Brandon there. There was often music and dancing, but Elinor and the Colonel usually talked.
They were sitting together one evening when Brandon said, ‘Your sister does not believe that anyone can love more than once.’ Then he looked sadly at Marianne and Willoughby, who were dancing together.
‘My sister is very young and she feels strongly about her ideas,’ Elinor replied. ‘When she is older, perhaps her feelings may change.’
Brandon thought for a moment and then he said quietly, ‘I used to know a lady who was very like your sister. Her ideas and feelings were very much like your sister’s ideas and feelings. The young lady believed that only happiness and love were important. But she was unlucky and later, her ideas changed. I… ‘
The Colonel stopped speaking and said nothing more on the subject. Elinor was sure that he was remembering a woman whom he had loved. But she did not ask him any questions.
The next day, Marianne came to tell Elinor some surprising news. Her eyes were shining with excitement.
‘You will not guess what has happened!’ she said. ‘Willoughby is giving me a horse! His servant is bringing it from Somerset tomorrow. Willoughby says that the horse will suit me perfectly. The horse’s name is Queen Mab. I shall enjoy riding on the hills with Willoughby!’
‘Marianne!’ Elinor said. ‘You cannot accept an expensive gift like that from Willoughby! It would be completely wrong. Also, we have nowhere to keep the animal and we do not have enough money to look after it. You must tell Willoughby that you cannot accept his gift.’
Marianne was upset at first, but at last she decided that her sister was right. Sadly, she spoke to Willoughby about it the next day.
‘Then I shall keep the horse until you can use it,’ Willoughby said. ‘When you have your own home, Queen Mab will be there waiting for you.’