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Summary Chapter 4

Marianne comments to Elinor that Edward has no taste in drawing. Elinor defends Edward, saying he enjoys other people’s talents and has good taste even if it is undeveloped. He never had the opportunity to learn to draw, and he distrusts his own opinion too much to give it. Marianne doesn’t agree, but respects her sister’s opinion. She tells Elinor she hasn’t had the opportunity to observe Edward, but she thinks he is a good, sensible man. Elinor replies that his shyness interferes with people getting to know him. She has been with him enough to feel he has a good mind with a good imagination, he enjoys reading, he is observant, and he has good tastes. He doesn’t’ impress you initially with his appearance, but even that becomes more pleasing once you get to know him.

Marianne is certain she will love him like a brother. Elinor worries that her sister believes there is more to the relationship than there is. When she tries to explain her feelings, Marianne labels her cold-hearted. Elinor admits her feelings are stronger than she claims. She isn’t certain how strong his feelings are towards her, and she is reluctant to reveal hers fully until she knows for certain. She does think he likes her, but there are other complications. He isn’t financially independent. His mother doesn’t seem amiable, and Elinor is without a fortune or rank of her own.

Marianne is shocked to discover that Elinor isn’t engaged, but she decides this is a good thing. She’ll have her sister longer, and Edward will have the opportunity to improve.

Elinor is worried about Edward’s circumstances and believes it might interfere with their courtship. She has come to doubt, because of his dependence on his mother, that his feelings for her are no more than friendship.

Fanny is also disturbed by their relationship. She tries to talk to Mrs. Dashwood about it, warning her that her mother wishes for her sons to marry well. Elinor’s relationship with her brother is imprudent. Mrs. Dashwood is insulted and vows to leave Norland.

Meanwhile, a sympathetic relation of hers offers her a cottage. Though she had been reluctant to leave the neighborhood, Mrs. Dashwood now welcomes it. Elinor approves of the terms.

Jane Austen