Sense and Sensibility Chapter 23
Elinor thinks over what she has learned from Lucy. Though she believes Lucy, who has offered much proof, Elinor cannot doubt that Edward has feelings for her. Feeling sorry first for herself, Elinor quickly swells with sympathy for Edward, and the pain he must be going through. Doomed to unhappiness with Lucy, Elinor can forgive his misleading and hurtful treatment of her, because she knows his fate will be much worse than hers. She believes that his love belongs to her, and that Lucy was jealous of this, and therefore brought Elinor into her confidence to discourage her.
Elinor decides to keep her knowledge from her family, both because she promised Lucy, and also to spare her family the pain. Though disliking her company, Elinor is curious and hopes to gain more information from Lucy, and takes every opportunity so that they may meet and be able to talk in private. This finally happens several days later at the Middletons. When everyone else goes to play cards, Lucy stays behind to work on a gift for Lady Middleton's daughter. Marianne plays piano, and Elinor offers to help Lucy with her work.