Sense and Sensibility Chapter 20
The Dashwoods visit at Barton Park the next day. Mrs. Palmer invites the girls to spend time with them at Cleveland this winter, but they decline. Elinor asks Mrs. Palmer, who lives in the same county as Combe Magna, if she knows much about Willoughby. She knows little, but knows about his engagement to Marianne, which Elinor confesses she and her mother are unsure of. People with a love of gossip do not need much encouragement to believe something as true, and Mrs. Palmer has no proof of the engagement other than what she conjured from the world around her.