Sense and Sensibility Chapter 22
Marianne especially objects to spending time with the Steeles. The improper comments of the eldest are offensive, and Lucy's lack of education makes her an object of pity.
The Dashwoods still find themselves often in the Steele's presence, and during a walk, Lucy inquires about Mrs. Ferrars, Fanny's mother. Elinor is surprised at such a question. Lucy then tells her that Mrs. Ferrars may soon be very important to her happiness. Elinor asks Lucy if she is attached to Robert Ferrars, who is Edward's brother. Lucy then tells her that no, it is Edward Ferrars to whom she is attached. Disbelieving that her Edward could be anything but hers, Elinor carefully controls her emotions.
Lucy's engagement to Edward is a secret, one which no one but Anne knows. They became engaged when Edward was under her uncle, Mr. Pratt's care, at their home in Longstaple, and the engagement has lasted four years. Elinor is still doubtful, but then Lucy produces a small painting of Edward from her pocket.
Lucy tells Elinor the engagement has been kept a secret because of Edward's mother, who she fears will disapprove of the match. Lucy last saw Edward right before he visited Barton Cottage, and Lucy explains his poor spirits as sadness at his having left her. She then produces from her pocket a letter from Edward, and Elinor recognizes his handwriting. It was difficult now for Elinor to doubt Lucy's claims, and she tries to control her emotions. Lucy laments Edward's absence, and tells Elinor of the ring she gave to him just before he left her, a ring set with her hair. Confused, Elinor remembers Edward's sadness at Barton, and the ring on his finger. With all this proof, she does not know what to think about her Edward.
The two finally reach the cottage, and thankfully for Elinor, they must close the subject.