You know, Mrs. Jennings may be a gossipy old busybody, with a tendency to use uncultured language and talk about improper subjects... but she has a good heart, and a good sense of humor too! She's generous, kind, considerate of the physical comfort of others, and really does look after the young ladies in her care. She gives Elinor and Marianne full permission to "laugh at my odd ways behind my back" (p. 284) and is generally just... a fun person to be around, as long as you don't have any secret sweethearts to get teased about.
According to my annotated copy, Barton would be about 175 miles from London, and if carriages and such usually traveled at a rate of about 8 miles an hour when on good roads... it would definitely take them several days to get there. They're not just being lazy and poky. Can you imagine spending nine or ten hours a day in a jouncing, jostling carriage? For two and a half days? Oh man, no wonder Elinor was a little reluctant to go!
But we get to London at last. And are promptly visited by Colonel Brandon. The plot proceeds apace.
1. I think this is the only Austen book where the heroines get to travel to London. But London was an exceedingly popular and important place to go. Jane herself traveled there many times. Any thoughts on why she didn't set more book scenes there?
2. Have you ever traveled in a horse-drawn vehicle?