Sense and Sensibility Chapter 49
Free from Lucy, Edward had come to Barton to ask Elinor to marry him, and when he asks her, she says yes. Having shifted from the engagement to Lucy, who he no longer loves, to one with Elinor, whose love makes him so happy, Edward is joyful. To Elinor, he describes his relationship with Lucy as one of ignorance--ignorance of women, of love, of the world. He thought her wonderful because she was all he knew. Having little company or friendship in his family, he chose to spend most of his time with Lucy. Mrs. Dashwood is happy, Marianne is crying, Elinor id ecstatic, and for once, not quiet.
The marriage between Lucy and Robert seemed so unlikely, Edward could only suppose that "the vanity of one had been so worked on by the flattery of the other" Chapter 49, pg. 309, that they had become attached. Not believing Lucy capable of any deceit or cruelty, Edward suggested that perhaps she had been trying to gain Robert's favor for him, and had fallen in love in the process. He shows Elinor the surprising and poorly written letter he received from Lucy, which told him that since she had lost his love, she thought it acceptable to fall in love with another, and that man was Edward's brother.
Elinor thinks how ironic it is that the money Mrs. Ferrars denied to Lucy and Edward, Lucy would now get anyway. Edward expects that his mother will be more hurt by Robert's match with Lucy, because he was her favorite, but that she will also forgive him quicker.
Elinor is sure that Lucy meant to hurt her, by allowing her servant to think she had married Edward when that was not the case. Edward, though unbelieving at first, soon sees Lucy's cruelty. He still cannot imagine why Lucy chose to stay with him so long after he was disinherited. Elinor suggests the engagement could not hurt Lucy, and that it was probably better for her to marry him than to be single.
Edward apologizes for leading Elinor on; he thought his engagement would keep his heart safe, but he soon grew to love Elinor and did not know what to do. Imagining he was only hurting himself, he stayed too long in their company. Elinor and Edward start to think about how they will live after they are married. The parsonage is not enough, and Elinor is afraid of depending on the kindness of Edward's mother.
The Colonel arrives and hears the story of Lucy and Robert's marriage. He is happy that his parsonage will now help his good friend Elinor. He and Edward meet, and become friends.
They receive a letter from Mrs. Jennings, criticizing Lucy for her treatment of Edward and Ann, whose money she borrowed and then left stranded. John sends a letter telling how painful it was for Mrs. Ferrars and Fanny to see Robert married so, and how firm they are never to admit Lucy to their home. John's letter suggests that if Edward were to send his mother an apologetic letter, she might forgive him and take him back. Elinor is glad to hear this, and urges Edward to send the letter. Edward is unwilling, but agrees, choosing instead to go there in person and have his say.