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Sneaking a Peek at Sense & Sensibility Entry 22

People: Elinor, Lucy Steele

Text: Not long after, a walk was proposed, and Elinor found herself walking alone with Lucy Steele. Lucy asked Elinor if she might share a deep, long-held secret with her. What she revealed sent Elinor into doubt and internal despair. But being always in command of her actions, she was able to continue the walk without revealing her emotions.

               Lucy Steele told how that she had been secretly engaged to Edward Ferrars for nearly four years. He was once under the tutelage of her uncle Mr. Pratt, and during that season they had met and fell in love. It was only Edward’s dependence on his mother, her opinions, and her financial promises that kept the two from openly sharing the engagement.

               Elinor said, “Engaged to Mr. Ferrars! I confess myself totally surprised at what you tell me. But surely there must be some mistake of person or name. We cannot mean the same Mr. Ferrars.”

               “We can mean no other,” cried Lucy smiling. “Mr. Ferrars, the eldest son of Mrs. Ferrars of Park street, and brother of your sister-in-law, Mrs. John Dashwood, is the person I mean; you must allow that I am not likely to be deceived as to the name of the man on whom all my happiness depends.”

               “It is strange,” replied Elinor in a most painful perplexity, “that I should never have heard him even mention your name.”

               “No; considering our situation, it was not strange. Our first care has been to keep the matter secret.”

               Lucy was silent. Elinor’s security sunk; but her self-command did not sink with it. It was with a composure of voice, that she concealed an emotion and distress beyond anything she had ever felt before. She was mortified, shocked, confounded.

               Fortunately for her, they had now reached the cottage, and the conversation could be continued no further. After sitting with them for a few minutes, the Miss Steeles returned to the Park, and Elinor was then at liberty to think and be wretched.

Emotion: pain

Insight: Psalm 34:18 reaches out to Elinor, “The LORD is near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”


               Elinor has been tasked with the heavy burden of keeping a secret that crushes her and gives her an abiding pain. Lucy Steele is secretly engaged to the man that she herself cares deeply about. Unlike Marianne, who expresses every joy and sorrow with intense passion, Elinor’s personality and role in the family holds her emotional response in check. But she suffers in her most secret and tender soul.

               But Elinor is not truly alone. She has an Advocate in God Himself. God is touched by the needs of the brokenhearted. He reaches out in seasons of sorrow to love us, care for us, and support us. During our times of pain and heart break, may we remember that God is on our side. He cares. He loves. He draws near to uphold us when we are weak.

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