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Sneaking a Peek at Sense & Sensibility Entry 28

 

People: Elinor, Colonel Brandon

Text: One morning, Mrs. Jennings was out on business. Elinor was writing a letter to her mother to ask her to ascertain from Marianne whether or not she has an understanding of an engagement with Willoughby. Elinor needed the assurance that they actually had a commitment since Marianne seemed reluctant to speak the whole truth.

               Just then, Colonel Brandon knocked on the door for a visit. Marianne ran away to avoid him, leaving him alone with Elinor. He seemed glad of this, since he had a confidence to share.

               Their silence was broken, by his asking her in a voice of some agitation, when he was to congratulate her on the acquisition of a brother. Elinor simply asked what he meant. He tried to smile as he replied, “Your sister’s engagement to Mr. Willoughby is very generally known.”

               “It cannot be generally known,” returned Elinor, “for her own family do not know it.”

               He looked surprised and said, “I beg your pardon, I am afraid my inquiry had been impertinent; but I had not supposed any secrecy intended, as they openly correspond, and their marriage is universally talked of.”

               Elinor was not immediately able to say anything. She was convinced that Marianne’s affection for Willoughby could leave no hope for Colonel Brandon’s success, whatever the event of that affection might be. She acknowledged to Brandon that though she had never been informed by themselves on the terms on which they stood with each other of their mutual affection she had no doubt.

               Brandon listened to her with silent attention. With a voice of emotion he said, “To your sister I wish all imaginable happiness; to Willoughby that he may endeavor to deserve her.” He took leave and went his way. Elinor was left with a melancholy impression of Colonel Brandon’s unhappiness.

Emotion: Heartache Psalm 147:3 knows Colonel Brandon’s heartache, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Insight: This conversation between Elinor and Colonel Brandon leaves them both morose. Colonel Brandon, sure of the engagement of Marianne and Willoughby, comes to gratulate Elinor on the gaining of a brother-in-law. His source of the information was that the two openly correspond plus the engagement is openly spoken about throughout the London gossip mill. Brandon is surprised by Elinor’s saying that they are unaware of the engagement.

               Brandon’s pain and unhappiness are evident to Elinor who feels deeply sorry for him. Pain of loss, or in this case the pain of the loss of what could have been, is difficult to bear. The Colonel loves Marianne. He worries that Willoughby is not good enough for her. He believes that Marianne’s own happiness is in danger. Broken hearts can truly be healed by the One Who understands sorrow. God Himself takes the wounds of broken emotions, pours in the balm of His gentle love, and heals those injuries. May we embrace the healing power of our tender-hearted God and allow Him to work in us



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