The excursion to Whiteell, which Sir John had planned, didn’t wind up happening. The party assembled, eager to start despite the inconveniences they’d suffer. Colonel Brandon receives a letter that upsets him. Mrs. Jennings, despite her daughter’s reproofs, tries to find out what it said…not believing a business letter could produce so much of a reaction.
Colonel Brandon tells them the party is canceled, as he must go to town at once. They can’t enter Whitwell without him, and his housekeeper won’t accept a handwritten note. Sir John asks him to delay his departure until the next day or at least several hours, but Colonel Brandon refuses.
Willoughby thinks the Colonel faked the letter to get out of going to Whitwell because he is a person that can’t every enjoy anything pleasurable.
Colonel Brandon tells them he does not know when he will return and doesn’t wish to make any plans.
Mrs. Jennings is certain that he business the Colonel left for concerns Miss Williams, who is his daughter and very much like him.
Sir John decides to have a dance to make up for the disappointment of the cancelled trip.
Mrs. Jennings reveals that she knows Marianne had visited Mr. Willoughby’s home with him. Elinor chides Marianne for going there without an escort, particularly as she did not know Mrs. Smith. Marianne points out that the open carriage couldn’t accommodate another person. She had a good time. Elinor tells her it wasn’t proper. Marianne argues it wasn’t improper because she enjoyed herself, and she couldn’t enjoy doing something if it were improper. Elinor points out that it was improper—the proof being in Mrs. Jennings reaction. Marianne doesn’t think Mrs. Jennings is a good judge of propriety.
Besides, as far as Marianne is concerned—since Mr. Willoughby is the heir—the house will one day be hers because she plans to marry him. She finally does concede it was improper, but Willoughby wanted to show it to her. She describes the rooms with delight.