Elinor believes Lucy was telling the truth. There seems plenty of proof. Edward and Lucy had the opportunity to know each other. It could explain Edward’s behavior and how differently he treated Elinor this last visit. At first, Elinor resents that Edward duped her.
When she calms down, she begins to reconsider everything. Maybe Edward didn’t mean to deceive her. Did he really love Lucy? Elinor can’t believe this. She believes that he may have once loved her but now favors Elinor. Others had been aware of his regard for her, so she is certain she didn’t imagine it.
In the end, Edward hurt himself more than Elinor. He couldn't possibly be happy with Lucy. When he was young, he was no doubt smitten by her beauty and good nature. Now, however, he can’t but help notice her defects. He probably is relieved that his mother wouldn’t approve of such a union.
Elinor is very sorry for him. She is determined to keep this from her mother and sister. She does it to protect herself as well as him. She doesn’t want to increase her pain by their outrage and references.
Elinor wishes to talk to Lucy more. She wants to see if there are any deviations in her story and to find out what Lucy truly feels towards Edwards. She also wants to convince Lucy she has no interest in the matter except as a friend. She is certain Lucy is jealous of her since Edward praised her so much. She believes that Lucy revealed this secret so that Elinor would be warned away from Edward.
They meet plenty of times but have no opportunity for private conversation until Lady Middleton entertains them.