Sense and Sensibility Chapter 40
Mrs. Jennings, thinking Elinor and the Colonel are now engaged, is very happy, and tells Elinor how pleased she is. Elinor does not understand Mrs. Jennings' mistake. She asks her not to tell anyone until she has the opportunity to tell Edward, and Mrs. Jennings assumes this means that they want Edward to perform the service. So when Mrs. Jennings sees Edward downstairs, leaving word of his departure from town, Mrs. Jennings sends him to Elinor.
Elinor, who has just begun writing the news to Edward, is now faced with the much more difficult task of telling him in person. After many uncomfortable moments, Elinor tells Edward about the parsonage, being careful to make sure he knows it was the Colonel's doing. She does not want him to think she had any part in securing the means by which he could marry another woman. Edward is shocked and thankful, and rushes out to find Colonel Brandon and thank him.
Mrs. Jennings comes home, and asks Elinor when everything will be ready. When Elinor replies that it will likely be several months, Mrs. Jennings is shocked. Elinor tells her how important it is to the Colonel to help Edward, and Mrs. Jennings cannot understand why their marriage is not the priority. Confused, Elinor corrects her, and they both laugh about the error. Mrs. Jennings is happy about the parsonage, and is certain that even if the income is small, he and Lucy will do just fine.