Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Summary Chapter 44

Willoughby wishes to speak to Elinor. He inquires if Marianne is indeed better. He wishes to explain himself.

Willoughby says that at first he only pursued Marianne out of enjoyment and vanity. He hadn’t thought about her feelings. He had gotten himself into debt and needed to marry a woman with a fortune. He courted Marianne with no plan to follow through. He didn’t realize the extent of injury he did to her because he didn’t know what it was to love.
He did, though, become genuinely fond of Marianne and was planning to marry her after all. Colonel Brandon, though, had notified Mrs. Smith of Willoughby’s actions towards his ward.

He admits he should have shown the other girl more respect and regrets what he did, even though he blames her for being overly-passionate and senseless. He didn’t realize the full extent of the damage he had done to Eliza either.

Mrs. Smith is a morally upright woman. She never really approved of Willoughby. She told him she would forgive him if he married Eliza. He refused, and she disowned him. He decided that he needed to secure a rich wife then, for he dreaded poverty—and so he broke it off with Marianne.

He was miserable. He managed to convince himself that Marianne forgot about him, and he didn’t really care about her. When he got her letter, he realized she still cared for him. He was already engaged to Miss Grey, though. He felt like a scoundrel, but he decided to ignore the note. He often watched the Dashwoods, though. He saw them almost daily even though they never saw him.

He avoided all mutual acquaintances, but one day he did run into Sir John, who invited him to the party. He had seen Marianne’s deathly expression. His bride-to-be was a jealous woman. He ran away from Marianne.

Sophia Grey had intercepted the letter Marianne sent the next day. He was forced to write down what she dictated. He knew it would turn everyone against him.

Elinor doesn’t approve of how he treated any of the women in his life, including Miss Grey. He claims that Sophia knows he didn’t marry her out of love.

Elinor does think him a little less wicked than she did. He wishes Elinor to tell Marianne.

He had ran into Sir John again, who had told him that Marianne was dying—and blamed him for it. Willoughby felt the need to come and explain himself.

Elinor Thinks Willoughby is the victim of someone who was independent too early in life. His vanity had lead him to fall in love, and his extravagance had forced him to give it up. He was being punished.

Willoughby leaves, saying he dreads Marianne’s marriage—which will torment him—particularly if it is to Colonel Brandon.

Jane Austen