Sense and Sensibility Chapter 37
Charlotte and her baby are doing well, so Mrs. Jennings returns to spending her days at home with Elinor and Marianne. Mrs. Jennings returns one day from Charlotte's, with news of the baby's first ailment. The baby only has a teething rash, but Charlotte panics and calls the doctor. When the doctor comes, he mentions to Mrs. Jennings that he is sure Fanny will soon be doing better. But she is not ill; rather, she has received quite a shock. Ann, observing how much Fanny liked Lucy, decided to tell her about the engagement. Fanny, who had just been deciding which Lord's daughter to set Edward up with, was furious at this betrayal. She became hysterical, and then threw her guests out before they could barely pack their things.
Elinor, who knew all along, is happy that Mrs. Jennings no longer suspects any affection between her and Edward, and also that Marianne was not present to hear this story. Elinor knows she needs time to prepare her. She leaves Mrs. Jennings and goes off to tell Marianne, who is terribly upset and confused. "Elinor was to be the comforter of others in her own distress, no less than in theirs" Chapter 37, pg. 220. Amazed at her sister's strength, Marianne also feels an awful guilt and self-hatred for the accusations of happiness with which she charged her sister, and she easily agrees to keep her composure when the subject of Edward and Lucy comes up in public. Elinor wants to avoid any appearance of hurt feelings at the news, so no one will suspect she loves Edward.
John comes over the next day, to tell the girls about Fanny's condition. Her feelings of betrayal at the new of Edward's engagement to Lucy were almost too much to bear. Mrs. Ferrars was shocked as well, and needing to control her son's every move, tried to get Edward to give up the engagement. When he refused, his mother disowned him, deciding to give all his money to Robert, and to do her best to keep Edward from getting a job. John thinks Edward is crazy to give up his fortune, but Mrs. Jennings praises Edward for his honesty and loyalty.