Sense and Sensibility Chapter 7
Lacking in taste and limited in interests, the Middletons do not make the perfect friends for the Dashwood women. Hunting is Sir John's interest, and Lady Middleton is a mother. Both are very interested in social gatherings, but do not offer much good conversation.
Sir John apologizes to Elinor and Marianne for the lack of young men around, and promises to get them more friends soon. Mrs. Jennings, Lady Middleton's mother, joins their party, and livens things up. Boisterous and a bit vulgar, she enjoys teasing the girls about their loves, or the loves she imagines they have.
Colonel Brandon, an older friend of the Middleton's, also arrives. An old bachelor, he was much quieter than his friend Sir John. Of their group, the narrator remarks: "There was nothing in the party which could recommend them as companions to the Dashwoods; but the cold insipidity of Lady Middleton was so particularly repulsive, that in comparison of it the gravity of Colonel Brandon, and even the boisterous mirth of Sir John and his mother-in-law was interesting." Chapter 7, pg. 30
After dinner Marianne is invited to play the pianoforte. She plays beautifully, but Lady Middleton is easily distracted. Colonel Brandon listens with a quiet respect Marianne finds admirable.