Mrs. Jennings meets two young ladies, and Sir John invites them for a visit. Lady Middleton is upset that he gives her little warning about guests she has never met and whose manners are unknown.
The two ladies are fashionable and well-mannered. They ingratiate themselves to Lady Middleton by doting on her children.
Sir John invites the Dashwoods to meet the new guests. They decline. However, they are forced to agree to meet them the following day. When they meet the Steeles, they aren’t impressed by the elder sister. The younger one is pretty and sharp. Both are civil and good at pleasing other people.
Lucy Steele praises Lady Middleton’s sweetness. Marianne can’t lie and leaves it to Elinor to give false compliments. Lucy likes how spirited the children are, but Elinor claims she prefers quieter children.
Elinor is surprised by the familiarity in which Anne Steele asks them in whether they miss Norland. She suspects they do since they probably had more beaus there. Anne believes beaus enhance one’s life so long as they aren’t dirty and nasty.
Elinor finds Anne to be vulgar and Lucy to be artless. She doesn’t desire to further her acquaintance, but they feel differently. The Dashwoods find it difficult to avoid them altogether.
Sir John lets the Miss Steeles on his joke about Marianne’s impending marriage and Elinor’s regard for Edward. This leads to impertinent question from the Steeles. Elinor is curious when Anne Steele reveals they are acquainted with Edward, for he has visited their uncle.